Philip J. Carpenter

Research Interests

  • Hydrogeophysics
  • Geophysical assessment of karst features, landfills, mine wastes and detection of pollution
  • Earthquake history and occurrence in the upper Midwest U.S.

Research Activities (field sites in the U.S., Mexico and China)

  • Geophysical imaging of karst features and integration with karst hydrogeology.
  • Developing methods for geophysical (noninvasive) assessment of landfills and
    detection of pollution in adjacent aquifers.
  • Earthquake history of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Selected Publications

Carpenter, P.J. & Reddy, K.R. (2017). Geophysical Imaging of Landfill Interiors: Examples from Northern Illinois, USA. In G.L.S. Babu, K.R. Reddy, A. De & M. Datta (Eds.), Geoenvironmental Practices and Sustainability, Developments in Geotechnical Engineering (p. 1-11), Singapore, Springer Nature. DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-4077-1_1.

Carpenter, P.J., Leal-Bautista, R.M. & Lopez-Tamayo, A. (2016). Geophysical surveys over karst features in northern Yucatan, Mexico. FastTIMES, 21 (3), 16-25 (ISSN 19436505).

Carpenter, P. J. and Schroeder, L. (2015). Investigation of a sinkhole in Ogle County, northwestern Illinois, using near-surface geophysical techniques. 14th Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and The Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst (vol. 14, pp. 399-406). Carlsbad, NM: National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI),

Morrow, W. S., Carpenter, P., Adams, R. F. (2015). Seismic Data Collection from Water Gun and Industrial Background Sources in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Area, Illinois, 2011 (vol. 938, 31 p.). Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 938.

Carpenter, P.J., Reddy, K.R. and Thompson, M.D. (2013). Seismic imaging of a bioreactor cell: Journal of Hazardous, Toxic and Radioactive Waste, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), v. 17, no. 4, 331-341.

Carpenter, P.J. Adams, R.F., Lenczewski, M. and Leal-Bautista R.M. (2013). Ground-penetrating radar, resistivity and spontaneous potential investigations of a contaminated aquifer near Cancún, Mexico, 13th Conference on Sinkholes and the Environmental Impacts of Karst, NCKRI, Carlsbad, NM, 6 p. 

Johnson, B.A. and Carpenter, P.J. (2012). Geophysical response of slackwater and sandy terrace deposits near Savanna, Northwestern Illinois: Environmental Earth Sciences, v. 68, no. 4, 955-964, DOI 10.1007/s12665-012-1798-5.

Carpenter, P.J., Aizhong, D. and Cheng, L. (2012). Identifying groundwater contamination using resistivity surveys at a landfill near Maoming, China, Nature Education, 3(6): electronically published.

Atre, S.R. and P.J. Carpenter (2010). Identification of cross-valley faults in the Maynardville Limestone, Oak Ridge Reservation, Tennessee, using seismic refraction tomography: Environmental Earth Sciences, v.60, no. 6, 1245-1256, DOI 10.1007/s12665-009-0265-4.

Carpenter, P.J., Ding, A., Cheng, L., Liu, P. and F. Chu (2009). Apparent formation factor for leachate-saturated waste and sediments: examples from the USA and China: Journal of Earth Science, v. 20, no. 3, 606-617, DOI 10.1007/s12583-009-0050-7.

Carpenter, P.J., Grellier, S., Reddy, K.R., Adib, R., Peters, C. and Gangathulasi, J., (2008). Investigating the interior of a landfill cell with leachate injection using electromagnetic conductivity and ground-penetrating radar surveys: in SAGEEP2008: Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems, Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society, Wheat Ridge, CO, pp. 212-222 (published on CD-ROM).

Higuera, I.C., P.J. Carpenter and M.D. Thompson, (2007), Identification of buried sinkholes using seismic refraction tomography at Ft. Campbell Army Airfield, Kentucky, Environmental Geology, 53, 805-812.

Ding, A., L. Cheng, P. Liu, P.J. Carpenter and Y. Han, (2007), Plant response to metal contamination at an oil shale tailing site in Maoming, South China, Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation, 27, 111-117.

Ahmed, S. and P.J. Carpenter, (2003), Geophysical response of filled sinkholes, soil pipes and associated bedrock fractures in thinly mantled karst, east-central Illinois, Environmental Geology, 44, 705-716.

Ding, A., J. Fu, G. Sheng, P. Liu and P.J. Carpenter, (2003). Effects of oil shale waste disposal on soil and water quality: hydrogeochemical aspects: Chemical Speciation and Bioavailability, 14, 79-86.

Recent Grants and Awards

2017-2018, Geophysical and hydrogeologic investigation of potential groundwater flow pathways in unconsolidated deposits at Fermilab, NERP Research Agreement, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

2015, $11,308, Geophysical characterization of karst and bedrock features over an industrial mine complex, Corporate sponsorship.

2014-2016, $90,000, Seismic monitoring of the Asian carp water gun deployment in the Chicago Area Waterway System, the Illinois River and other systems, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Dept. of the Interior.

2012-2013, $9,300, Enhancing student geophysical experiences at the NIU/ISU Environmental Geology Field Camp, Society of Exploration Geophysicists Foundation, (M. Lenczewski, NIU, co-PI)

2011-14, $147,148, Seismic monitoring of the Asian Carp hydrogen deployment in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and Calumet River, U.S. Geological Survey.

2008-10, $210,000, Software grant from Seismic-Micro Technology (with Ph.D. student Bryce Willems)

2006-08, $21,471, Dynamic water balance and geotechnical stability of bioreactor landfills, Centre de Recherche pour l'Environnement, l'Energie, et le Dechet (CReeD), Limay, France, (K. Reddy, UIC, co-PI).

2007-08, $65,000, International Linear Collider technical feasibility study: ground motion and vibration studies, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Non PI Grants

2016-2019, $432,424. PIs: Lenczewski, M. and Voglesonger, K. Collaborative Proposal REU: Water resources and quality in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. National Science Foundation REU Program. Carpenter, P.J. listed as a Senior Scientist.

Recent Abstracts and Conference Presentations

Morozov, V., Carpenter, P. (2015). Geophysical characterization of karst features above an underground mine near Quincy, Illinois. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Annual Meeting (vol. 47, pp. 664).

Carpenter, P.J. and El-Hussain, I.W. (2015). Reservoir induced seismicity near Heron and El Vado reservoirs, northern New Mexico and implications for fluid injection within the San Juan basin: in Programs with Abstracts, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2015 Annual Meeting, paper 2104526 (on CD-ROM).

Carpenter, P.J., Morrow, W.S., Koebel, C.M. and Adams, R.F. (2015). Comparison of ground motion from industry and barge traffic at the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to vibrations from the Asian carp water gun: in Programs with Abstracts, Geological Society of America, North-Central Section, p. 67.

Koebel, C.M., Carpenter, P.J., Morrow, W.S. and Adams, R.F. (2015). Ground vibrations produced by an 80 in³ water gun on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, Lemont, Illinois: in Programs with Abstracts, Geological Society of America, North-Central Section, p. 61.

Carpenter, P., W. Morrow, R. Adams and D. Yeskis (2014). Ground vibrations produced by a seismic water gun deployed in the Chicago Area Waterways System to control invasive Asian carp: in Program with Abstracts, 2014 AEG Annual Meeting, Assoc. of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, p. 47.

Schroeder, L. and Carpenter, P.J. (2014). Geophysical investigation of the Stone Barn Road sinkhole, Ogle County, Illinois: in Proc. 7th Annual Driftless Area Symposium, Driftless Area Restoration Project, Minnesota Dept. Nat. Res., p. 14.

Schroeder, L. and P. Carpenter (2014). A near-surface geophysical investigation of sinkhole formation, Nachusa Grasslands, northern Illinois: in Proc. of the 2014 Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems (SAGEEP2014), p. 320.

Carpenter, P.J., McMakin, D. and Albrecht, M. (2011). Seismicity of northern Illinois: insights from recent earthquakes and a new review of historical sources, Geol. Soc. Amer. Absts. with Progs,, v. 43, no. 5, p. 592.

Carpenter, P.J. and Reddy, K.R. (2011). Refuse conductivity variations following leachate injection in a bioreactor landfill cell: modeling EM results and comparison with well logs. Proc. of the 2011 Symp. on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems (SAGEEP), v. 24, p. 76.

Adams, R. and Carpenter, P.J. (2011). Integrated surface and borehole geophysics to map subsurface cavities and fractures near a Superfund site south of Rockford, Illinois, Proc. of the 2011 Symp. on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems (SAGEEP), v. 24, p. 234.

Carpenter, P.J., Grellier, S., Reddy, K.R. and Thompson, M. (2010). Non-invasive monitoring of leachate movement and gas migration within a bioreactor landfill cell: Illinois Groundwater Association Agenda and Abstracts, p. 5.

Carpenter, P.J., Ding, A., Cheng, L., Sturnfield, E., Liu, P. and F. Chu (2009). Use of geophysics, SRTM and remote sensing to characterize groundwater contamination from oil shale wastes in south China, Abstracts Volume, American Association of Petroleum Geolologists Annual Convention and Exhibition, Vol. 18, p. 36.

Bennett, S. A. and P. Carpenter (2009). Lava tubes in the Alba Patera region of Mars: Future human habitats and incubators of life? North-Central Section - 43rd Annual Meeting (2-3 April 2009), Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 4, p. 51.

Sturnfield, E. L. and P. J. Carpenter (2009). Use of SRTM and fieldwork in rural villages near Maoming, southern China, to assess groundwater contamination from oil shale wastes: North-Central Section - 43rd Annual Meeting (2-3 April 2009), Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 4, p. 30.

Carpenter, P. J. and D.W. Ekberg (2009). Detection of fractures and filled sinkholes within thinly-mantled karst near Rockford, Illinois, using geophysics: North-Central Section - 43rd Annual Meeting (2-3 April 2009), Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 4, p. 17.

Carpenter, P.J. (2009). Contaminant detection and identifying hydrogeological complexity from simple geophysical surveys at landfills near Maoming (south China) and Beijing: North-Central Section - 43rd Annual Meeting (2-3 April 2009), Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 4, p. 19.


  • GEOL 103 Planetary and Space Science
  • GEOL 120 Introductory Geology
  • GEOL 425/525 Engineering Geology
  • GEOL 427/527 Planetary Geoscience
  • GEOL 477/577 Field Methods in Environmental Sciences (geophysics segment)
  • GEOL 491/591 Geophysical Well Logging
  • GEOL 493/593 Groundwater Geophysics
  • GEOL 496/596 Geophysics
  • GEOL 651 Applied Geophysics: Seismic and Electrical
  • GEOL 654 Geophysical Field Methods
  • GEOL 735 Soil Mechanics
  • GEOL 748A Geophysics Seminar
  • GEOL 748J Engineering Geology Seminar
  • GEOL 751 Reflection Seismology

Philip J. Carpenter

Environmental Geophysics, Engineering Geology, Seismology

417D Davis Hall


Ph.D. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; 1984

M.S. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; 1981

B.S. University of Minnesota, Duluth; 1979

Contact Us

Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
Davis Hall, Room 312

815-753-1943 (undergraduate)
815-753-0631 (graduate)

815-753-1945 (fax)

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