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K-State Today

January 22, 2021

K-State geologist's work featured in GeoNews video

Submitted by Malorie Sougey

Behzad Ghanbarian, assistant professor of engineering geology, published research with colleagues in 2020, "Predicting Water Cycle Characteristics from Percolation Theory and Observational Data," featured in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Ghanbarian's research was highlighted in a recent GeoNews video called "CO2 Drawdown: Where Should the Water Go?"

GeoNews by UTD Geoscience Studio is run by a team of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in the geoscience department of the University of Texas, Dallas. They make geoscience educational animations and videos about geoscientific processes and about the activities of their department and other geoscientific organizations.

Ghanbarian's research in understanding plant-soil-water interactions and mechanisms contributing to them in the critical zone has been an active subject of research in the past few decades. Such interactions are important due to their impacts on climate change and CO2 level in the atmosphere. The latter can be lowered by natural processes, such as plant growth and soil formation both dependent on water.

Ghanbarian and his colleagues proposed a theoretical framework to address the ratio of transpiration water, used by plants, to precipitation water. Based on optimal analysis, they found that two-thirds of precipitation goes into plant growth and one-third of it to soil formation. These ratios are well consistent with global mean values reported in the literature.

Ghanbarian joined the K-State geology department in fall 2017. He received his doctorate in environmental science from Wright State University in 2014. His doctoral dissertation about modeling physical and hydraulic properties of heterogeneous porous media won the 2015 Donald L. Turcotte Award for outstanding research in nonlinear geophysics from American Geophysical Union. His research area covers a wide range of multidisciplinary topics in geology, hydrogeology and environmental sciences and engineering. Ghanbarian is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and two books. He is an active member of the Soil Science Society of America, the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.