Kamini Singha

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Kamini Singha
Kamini Singha 2017 headshot.jpg
BSc Geophysics
PhD Hydrogeology
BSc university University of Connecticut
PhD university Stanford University

Kamini Singha is a professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and the Associate Director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines. She worked at the USGS Branch of Geophysics from 1997 to 2000, and served on the faculty of The Pennsylvania State University from 2005 to 2012. Her research interests are focused on the physical process controlling solute and contaminant mass transport including “long-tailed” distributions of solute arrival times in groundwater systems and during groundwater-surface water exchange, integration of geophysical imaging with flow and transport modeling, and establishing field-scale rock physics relations between geophysical and hydrogeologic parameters. Dr. Singha is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award, and was awarded the Early Career Award from the Society of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics in 2009. She served as the Chair of the AGU Hydrogeophysics Technical Committee from 2009 to 2012 and is an associate editor at Water Resources Research. She earned her B.S. in geophysics from the University of Connecticut and her Ph.D., in hydrogeology, from Stanford University.

SEG Reginald Fessenden Award 2022

Kamini Singha is recognized for her extensive and significant contributions of applied geophysics to hydrogeophysics, including critical zone hydrology, anomalous solute transport, and water resources management. In particular, she has documented the occurrence and prevalence of solute mass transfer in heterogeneous porous media by applying electrical methods to measure both temporal and spatial changes of fluid. This methodology has also allowed for improved understanding of fluid flow and solute exchange in groundwater-surface water systems. Singha’s work has pushed the application of geophysics in hydrogeology, including the application of exploration geophysics to image tree water use, changes in subsurface biogeochemistry, and contaminant transport

Biography Citation for the Reginald Fessenden Award

by Manika Prasad

It is an honor to write this citation for Kamini Singha, the 2022 recipient of the SEG Reginald Fessenden award. Kamini is a University Distinguished Professor, jointly appointed in the Geology and Geological Engineering and the Geophysics Departments at Colorado School of Mines. She also serves as the Associate Dean of Earth and Society Programs. In addition to these duties, Kamini maintains an exemplary and rigorous research program. Of all her achievements and accomplishments, I highlight her technical contributions to exploration geophysics, specifically to hydrogeophysics and beyond, that make Kamini an ideal recipient of the Reginald Fessenden Award.

1. Solute transport in porous media: Kamini and her colleagues and students were the first to document the occurrence and prevalence of solute mass transfer using geophysics in aquifers (Singha et al., 2007; Day-Lewis and Singha, 2008; Swanson et al., 2012, 2015; Day-Lewis et al., 2017; Briggs et al., 2018) and in other environmental systems, including solute transport between streams and the connecting aquifer. This work has immense implications for exploration geophysics. Firstly, we can now constrain and model how solute exchange between zones of higher and lower solute concentrations occurs in heterogeneous media. Secondly, Kamini’s approach to mapping biogeochemically active hyporheic zones in stream systems using electrical geophysics demonstrates that temporal and spatial changes in bulk electrical conductivity are driven by hard-to-constrain processes controlling changes in fluid connectivity.

2. Geophysical footprint: Kamini’s work has changed our interpretations of spatially and temporally varying measurement physics to constrain hydrogeologic processes. Her research established ways to minimize complications arising from inverting geophysical data to quantitatively estimate hydrologic parameters problems through (1) the use of numerical analogs to quantify the “footprint,” allowing for improved estimation of hydrologic processes, (2) stochastic methods for data integration, and (3) new inverse methodologies appropriate for estimating hydrologic parameters of interest directly.

3. Expanding the world of exploration geophysics: Kamini’s work expands the world of exploration geophysics beyond hydrocarbon resources. With her work on using geophysics to image tree water use, map changes in subsurface flow paths in ice-constrained systems undergoing climate change, and estimate moments of tracer transport undergoing reaction, she demonstrates how innovative extensions of geophysics leads us toward finding new dimensions in exploration geophysics.

Kamini is an internationally known scientist. She has been invited to present at national and international venues. She has represented or still represents the discipline of geophysics on a number of committees focused on hydrology, including the board of directors for the Consortium for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences (funded by the National Science Foundation, NSF), a panel on fractured rock characterization for the National Research Council, a panel on groundwater fluxes for the National Academy of Sciences, an NSF-funded committee exploring infrastructure needs for “Grand Challenges within Earth Surface Processes,” and a series of panels selecting fellows and lifetime career awards to scientists within hydrology and environmental geophysics.

Equally importantly, I have found Kamini’s interactions and mentorship of young professionals and students in our field to be extremely valuable. She takes a hands-on approach to guide, mentor, and support newcomers to the discipline. She conducts a yearly workshop to make STEM accessible for K-12 school children and encourages various faculty to develop hands-on exercises to explain scientific terms with simple experiments. Her passion for geophysics is obvious in her interactions with school children, and it is infectious.

In summary, Kamini’s technical contributions and her outreach activities have advanced exploration geophysics significantly. They have also served as critical bridges between hydrogeophysics, hydrological engineering, and exploration geophysics. Kamini has made contributions to the exploration geophysics society through her decades of field geophysical surveys and theoretical work on fluid and solute transport in heterogeneous porous media. In light of her vast body of work, I am very pleased to write a citation for Kamini’s recognition by SEG via the Reginald Fessenden Award. With her charm, knowledge, and expertise, Kamini serves as a role model for early-career as well as seasoned and crusty geophysicists

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