Last update: 2012-10-26 15:14:48

Rachel O'Brien

Allegheny College
Department of Geology
520 N. Main St.
Meadville, PA 16335
Telephone: (814)332-2875
FAX: (814)332-2981


Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman WA, Geology, 2000;
M.S., Washington State University, Pullman WA, Geology (Hydrogeology), 1992;
B.A., Colgate University, Hamilton NY, Geology, 1986.

Professional Positions:
  • Assistant Professor of Geology (2000-Present), Allegheny College, Meadville, PA Teaching and Research Assistant (1996-2000), Department of Geology, Washington State University;
  • Research Scientist (1994-1995), Danish Geotechnical Institute;
  • Research Assistant (1993-1994), Environmental Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory;
  • Teaching and Research Assistant (1990-1992), Department of Geology, Washington State University;
  • Hydrogeologist (1986-89), New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

  • Research Interests and Activities:
    Rachel O'Brien has been working at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest since 1995. For her dissertation, she is working with Kent Keller (advisor) and Dan Strobridge (graduate student) to investigate the influence of plants on rock weathering in the Hubbard Brook Sandboxes. This research involves two years of continuous data collection in the field (completed June 1998) beneath four stands of vascular and non-vascular plants.

    Distinguished Awards and Memberships:
    Editor's citation for excellence in manuscript review from the Journal of Environmental Quality, 1998.

    Selected Publications:

    Keller, C.K., R.M. Allen-King and R. O'Brien. 2000. A framework for integrating quantitative geologic problem solving into courses across the undergraduate geology curriculum. J. of Geosci. Educ., 48:459-463.

    Berner, R. A., J. L. Rao, S. B. Chang, R. O'Brien and C. K. Keller. 1998. Seasonal variability of adsorption and exchange equilibria in soil waters. Aquatic Geochemistry 4: 273-290.

    Gwo, J. P., R. O'Brien and P. M. Jardine. 1998. Mass transfer in structured porous media: Embedding mesoscale structure and microscale hydrodynamics in a two-region model. J. Hydrology 208(3/4):204-222.

    Jardine, P. M., R. O'Brien, G. V. Wilson and J. P. Gwo. 1998. Experimental techniques for confirming and quantifying physical nonequilibrium processes in soils. chapter 9 - pp. 243-271. In: Physical Nonequilibrium in Soils: Modeling and Application. Ann Arbor Press, Michigan.

    O'Brien, R. C., K. Keller and J. L. Smith. 1996. Multiple tracers of shallow groundwater flow and recharge in hilly loess. Ground Water 34(4):675-682.

    Schooley, J. and R. O'Brien. 1989. Prioritizing wells for wellhead protection area delineation: A GIS approach. New Jersey Geological Survey Tech. Memorandum (TM-74), 25 pp.

    Graduate Advisor:
    C. Kent Keller

    Title at Hubbard Brook:
    Principal Investigator