Geoscientist awarded Fulbright to study in France

Tom Burbey

Tom Burbey

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 22, 2010 – A Fulbright grant to a Virginia Tech geosciences researcher will enable him to travel to France this fall to study fractured rock hydrogeology.

Tom Burbey, associate professor of geosciences in the College of Science will conduct research along with his French counterparts at a site in Ploemeur, France. His research focuses on fluid flow and aquifer-system dynamics in complex fractured and faulted systems.

“Fractured crystalline rocks are an important source of groundwater for municipalities worldwide,” Burbey said. “Yet understanding the nature of flow and the sustainable quantity of flow in these highly complex environments is extremely difficult to assess.”

The research site in France was selected as the location to carry out his project because it is the only place in the world where highly precise vertical and horizontal deformation data in crystalline rocks have been collected.

Burbey earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in hydrogeology from the University of Nevada. He joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1996.

The Fulbright program, established in 1946 by legislation sponsored by Sen. J. William Fullbright, is America's flagship international education exchange activity. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. The program is designed “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Since the program was established, thousands of United States faculty and professionals have studied, taught, or conducted research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States.