Matt Lees receives AGU Outstanding Student Presentation Award

Stanford Earth graduate student MATT LEES has been selected to receive an Outstanding Student Presentation Award (OSPA) from the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Matt Lees. (Courtesy AGU)

The award is given to promote, recognize and reward undergraduate, master’s and PhD students for quality research in the geophysical sciences. Typically, only the top 3 to 5 percent of student participants who present their research at the annual AGU Fall meeting are awarded an OSPA.

Lees presented his research, “Understanding the Link Between Changing Head Levels and Land Subsidence: A Field Experiment in California’s San Joaquin Valley,” at the 2020 fall meeting in December, which was on a virtual platform.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that the final product was so well received,” said Lees, a PhD candidate in the Geophysics Department at Stanford Earth.

His research explores how declining groundwater levels in California’s San Joaquin Valley leads to land subsidence, which causes damage to critical infrastructures, such as canals and aqueducts, that cost millions to repair. Lees helped develop computer models to simulate how the complex relationship between groundwater levels, subsurface structure and subsurface properties leads to land subsidence or the sinking of the Earth’s surface.

The project is part of groundwater mapping research led by geophysics professor ROSEMARY KNIGHT, Lees’ doctoral research advisor. The work is becoming increasingly important for water managers as climate change reduces the amount of water available from snowpack and intensifies the extremity of the state’s droughts.

Read the full article on the Stanford Earth website.