Orange Alert

Tao Wen

Tao Wen

Tao Wen

Assistant Professor: Hydrogeochemistry, Environmental Data Science, & Noble Gas Geochemistry


Earth and Environmental Sciences
319B Heroy Geology Laboratory
Office: 315.443.8244


Social/Academic Links

Courses Taught

  • Water and Our Environment (EAR 205)
  • Hydrogeology (EAR 401/601)
  • Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry (EAR 419/619)
Research and Teaching Interests

I am a hydrogeochemist with additional expertise in data sciences driven by a research interest in the interface between humankind and the water cycle. I use field-based and geochemical laboratory-based approaches (e.g., noble gases, stable isotopes, and water chemistry) to shed light on the environmental implications of human activities on water resources. I also develop and apply data mining algorithms to explore the spatiotemporal patterns of water quantity and quality in the coupled natural and human system. I am particularly interested in water sustainability and the connection between energy/agriculture/urbanization and water quality.

My group uses noble gas, hydrogeochemistry, and data science tools to study the water cycle in the coupled natural and human systems over a broad range of temporal and spatial scales. Field geology, state-of-the-art geochemical analyses, as well as emerging data mining (big data) tools are blended in our work. Students in my group have the opportunity to incorporate one or more of these elements in their projects.

In teaching, I constantly strive to incorporate data science modules in the geoscience courses, e.g., Hydrogeology and Aqueous Chemistry. These updated courses will prepare SU students to address environmental challenges in the coupled human and natural Earth system as well as in the era of Big Data.


Graduate Students

Students interested in graduate study are encouraged to contact Prof. Wen before applying to further inquire about the opportunities available. Please include a brief description of any prior research activities (note: prior research experience is not required for admission!) and your current research and educational interests. Interested students can check this departmental website for the admission requirements.

Undergraduate Students

Students interested in conducting research in the Hydrogeochemistry And eNvironmental Data Sciences (HANDS) group should contact Prof. Wen.


Water Chemistry Instrumentation

  1. Perkin Elmer Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometry with an autosampler (ICP-OES), Avio 200 (PI: Dr. Wen)
  2. Two-Column Dionex Reagent Free Ion Chromatography System, ICS-2000, with an autosampler (PI: Dr. Lautz)
  3. Picarro L2130-i Water Isotope Analyzer, with an autosampler (PI: Dr. Lautz)
  4. Barnstead NANApure DIamond Ultrapure Water System (PI: Dr. Lautz)
  5. Thermo Fisher Quadrupole Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), Bruker Daltronics Aurora M90 (PI: Dr. Lu)

Computing Resources

  1. Workstations with Matlab, ArcGIS, and scientific computing software.
  2. SU Computing Cluster:
Selected Publications

Woda, J., Wen, T., Lemon, J., Marcon, V., Keeports, C.M., Zelt, F., Steffy, L.Y. and Brantley, S.L., 2020. Methane concentrations in streams reveal gas leak discharges in regions of oil, gas, and coal development. Science of The Total Environment.

Wen, T., Woda, J., Marcon, V., Niu, X., Li, Z. and Brantley, S.L., 2019. Exploring How to Use Groundwater Chemistry to Identify Migration of Methane near Shale Gas Wells in the Appalachian Basin. Environmental Science & Technology.

Woda, J., Wen, T., Oakley, D., Yoxtheimer, D., Engelder, T., Castro, M.C. and Brantley, S.L., 2018. Detecting and Explaining Why Aquifers Occasionally Become Degraded Near Hydraulically Fractured Shale Gas Wells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(49), pp.12349-12358.

Wen, T., Niu, X., Gonzales, M., Zheng, G., Li, Z. and Brantley, S.L., 2018. Big Groundwater Data Sets Reveal Possible Rare Contamination Amid Otherwise Improved Water Quality for Some Analytes in a Region of Marcellus Shale Development. Environmental Science & Technology, 52(12), pp.7149-7159.

Wen, T., Pinti, D.L., Castro, M.C., López-Hernández, A., Hall, C.M., Shouakar-Stash, O. and Sandoval-Medina, F., 2018. A Noble Gas and 87Sr/86Sr Study in Fluids of the Los Azufres Geothermal Field, Mexico – Assessing Impact of Exploitation and Constraining Heat Sources. Chemical Geology, 483, pp.426-441.

Brantley, S.L., Vidic, R.D., Brasier, K., Yoxtheimer, D., Pollak, J., Wilderman, C. and Wen, T., 2018. Engaging over data on fracking and water quality. Science, 359(6374), pp.395-397.

Wen, T., Castro, M.C., Nicot, J.P., Hall, C.M., Pinti, D.L., Mickler, P., Darvari, R. and Larson, T., 2017. Characterizing the noble gas isotopic composition of the Barnett Shale and Strawn group and constraining the source of stray gas in the Trinity Aquifer, north-central Texas. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(11), pp.6533-6541.