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Steve Esling

Steve Esling, Lecturer, Associate Professor Emeritus



  • B.S. 1975, Illinois State University
  • M.S. 1982, University of Iowa
  • Ph.D. 1984, University of Iowa

Research Interests:

Steven P. Esling blends his background in mathematics and geology with his interests in hydrogeology and Quaternary stratigraphy.  His efforts have led to studies quantifying erosion rates in strip mine spoils, assessing the impact of agricultural drainage wells on shallow bedrock aquifers, determining the effect of underground refuse disposal on regional groundwater flow systems, and investigating the migration of contaminant plumes through shallow aquifers.

Esling works closely with his students investigating a variety of hydrogeologic and Quaternary stratigraphic problems in southern Illinois.  Developing analytic models to describe the groundwater flow systems that develop in response to mining activities, monitoring the hydrologic budget of coal refuse sites, and characterizing the material properties of surficial deposits, including hydraulic conductivity, are recent research projects. 

Esling is also active in developing innovative, interactive, simulations of physical systems including a quasi-three-dimensional radial finite-difference groundwater flow model, as well as particle tracking, flow vector, and random walk transport models.  He has extensive Pascal, Basic, and FORTRAN programming experience.  He authored Graphic Groundwater, a graphical interface to MODFLOW and MODPATH and has recently developed graphical interfaces to single well test simulation programs and baseflow simulation programs.

Steve Esling

Office: Parkinson Lab 102
Phone: 618-453-7376
Curriculum Vitae

Selected Recent Publications:

Esling, S.P., and Keller, J.E., 2009  A user interface for the Kansas Geological Slug test model.#160; Ground Water, 47(4), 587-590.

Esling, S.P., Keller, J.E., and Miller, K.J., 2008.  Reducing capture zone uncertainty with a systematic sensitivity analysis.  Ground Water, 46(4), 570-578.

Esling, S.P., and Paul, B., 2001.  Hydrologic Monitoring at Three Mine Sites Reclaimed with Mixtures of Spoil and Coal Combustion Residues in Illinois.  Proceedings of The Use and Disposal of Coal Combustion By-Products at Coal Mines: A Technical Interactive Forum, April 10-13, 2000, Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S. Department of Energy, The National Energy Technology Center, p. 212-220.

Esling S.P., B.A. DeVantier, X. Zeng, and T. McDonald, 2000.  An investigation of temporal changes in soil permeability within the vadose zone of areas inundated by floods. Research on Agricultural Chemicals in Illinois Groundwater:  Status and Future Directions, Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Illinois Groundwater Consortium Conference, April 13, 2000, Makanda, IL, p. 1-11.

Chugh, Y.P., B. Paul, S. Esling, H. Sevim, T. McDonald, D. Dutta, E. Thomasson, and E. Mehnert, 1997.  Field scale hydraulic and pneumatic coal combustion byproduct injection – Part II.  Pushing the Envelope, Proceedings of the 1997 International Ash Utilization Symposium, October 20-22, Lexington, KY, p.495-508.


GEOL 470 Introductory Hydrogeology
GEOL 570 Advanced Hydrogeology
GEOL 577 Contaminant Transport
GEOL 476 Quaternary Geology
GEOL 413 Quantitative Methods in Geology (Geostatistics)
GEOL 222 Environmental Geology
GEA 110 Earth Science (GEA 11)
SCI 504 Science for Primary Teachers
SCI 503A, 503B Science for Elementary School Teachers



Consultant:  Saline Valley Conservancy District, 2004-2012.

Consultant:  St. Clair County Board on Karst Hydrology, 2010.

Consultant: Exxon Mobil Corporation on groundwater contamination issues, 2005.

Associate Editor, Water Resources Bulletin, American Water Resources Association, 1996-2001.

Groundwater Science Award:  Illinois Groundwater Association, 2000.

Great Lakes Geologic Mapping Forum:Geologic Hazards Panel, Low-Level Nuclear Waste Disposal, March 24, 1997, Indianapolis, IN. 


Saline Valley Conservancy District:  Development of an Expanded Groundwater Flow Model to Facilitate Planning by the Saline Valley Conservancy District.

U.S. Department of Energy: Management of Dry Gas Desulferization (FGD) By-Products in Underground Mines, Phase 4: Environmental Monitoring.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency: Well Head Delineations in Southern Illinois. 

>Illinois Clean Coal Institute: Monitoring of Mines Reclaimed with Mixtures of Spoil and Coal Combustion Residue.

Illinois Groundwater Association: Investigation of Temporal Changes in Intrinsic Permeability within the Vadose Zone of Areas Inundated by Recent Mississippi River Floods.