James Besancon

Associate Professor Emeritus of Geosciences


Continuing study of physical model and salt content of local community and campus water supply, ICP-OES analysis of water; Ion chromatography.

I and my research and class students are modeling the groundwater flow in the campus watershed, involving several streams, two lakes, a formerly contaminated pond, and complex surficial deposits, in an effort to understand and quantify the increasing salt content from road deicing. We continue to measure the properties of the aquifer utilizing campus observation wells while sampling water for chemical analysis throughout the watershed.

My teaching has become focused on environmental topics, including groundwater hydrogeology. I continue to enjoy teaching introductory geoscience and oceanography on a regular basis.

Other interests include: photography of geologic features for teaching purposes; travel, especially to Europe, Canada, or western United States; reading, cooking, ski touring, and driving almost anywhere (I know, too much carbon dioxide!).


  • B.S., Yale University
  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology