The movement of fresh water over and beneath the land surface is central to any understanding of how Earth’s surface evolves. Flowing water causes physical and chemical erosion and deposition of sediment, shaping the landscape. The presence or absence of water helps to define the changing ecology of the land and ocean over time. Through processes of precipitation, surface and subsurface flow, and evaporation, the global water cycle is an important driver of earth’s climate and weather systems on time scales from days to decades to millennia.

Hydrology research in Geological Sciences at UNC focuses on the physical movement of water around the globe; the erosion, transport and deposition of sediment by flowing water; and the chemical properties of freshwater systems. Individual projects examine the local hydrology of North Carolina, the water cycle in specific regions such as the American Southwest and the Arctic, and global patterns in land surface hydrologic features like rivers, lakes, and wetlands.