Oil and Water
Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Douglas Jerolmack and postdoctoral researcher Federico Falcini have been studying the flow of river water and sediment into large bodies of the Earth's waters. Jerolmack combines field studies and lab experiments with mathematical modeling to understand geological formations that emerge at the interface of fluids and sediment. His studies range from how ripples in sand on the bottom of a river change over minutes to the preserved record of millions of years of coastal evolution on the continental shelf.
Falcini specializes in fluid dynamics, which he uses to construct models for how geological structures form, change and disappear in places where soils and moving waters interact. Their research holds important applications for dealing with the massive oil leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and prompted them to study the movements of millions of gallons of raw crude pouring into the sea.
In this audio Q&A, Jerolmack and Falcini answer questions about the spreading of spilled oil and how we might deal with the giant oil slick as it moves toward coastlines.