Vitaly Zlotnik


Ph.D., 1979, Moscow Russia

Hydrogeology, Groundwater-surface water interactions, Hydrogeophysics and aquifer hydraulics, Hydrogeologic modeling, Hydrology

Contact Information

318 Bessey Hall

Hydrogeology of the 21st century meets global challenges: climate change, population growth, and sustainability of scarce water resources. Breadth of problems calls for collaboration with climatologists, sedimentologists, geophysicists, meteorologists, agricultural engineers, and water resources managers. Projects with colleagues from Australia, Belarus, Germany, Jordan, Lithuania, Russia, Oman, Switzerland, United States, and Uzbekistan and list of funding agencies show that our science and profession have bright future:

• Managed aquifer recharge in Middle East and North Africa countries (US AID). Use of treated wastewater is an approach for more efficient water use water (e.g., in Oman and Jordan). However, aquifers are commonly poorly characterized. Modeling efforts can facilitate reasonable assessment of stored water properties. We develop a toolbox for water resources evaluations for MAR

• Resilience of stressed watersheds (NSF-IGERT). The study explores effects of potential climate changes on the mega-system of shallow groundwater-fed lakes in the western Sand Hills. These lakes rapidly respond and adjust to the groundwater recharge, and their numbers and areas may rapidly respond to the trends of climate changes in 21st century.

• Salinity of lakes in western he Sand Hills, Nebraska (NSF). We study fascinating and puzzling spatial and temporal patterns of varying lake salinity using broad array of methods: lake-aquifer characterization, geophysics, modeling, isotope, diatoms and OSL dating, remote sensing and GIS. It was found that aeolian mechanisms are substantial factors in salinity

• Biocomplexity of the Sand Hills (NSF). As a part of a multi-disciplinary team of geologists, ecologists, hydrologists, and meteorologists, we studied properties of groundwater recharge under various climate change scenarios. It was found that stability of dunes is related to increased recharge and vegetation.

• Remediation of explosives and solvents in groundwater at the Superfund site, Mead, Nebraska (EPA, DoD). Using permanganate injection, we showed feasibility of in-situ contaminant destruction characterized groundwater remediation by hydraulic testing and electrical resistivity methods

I teach groundwater modeling, mass transport in groundwater, and field methods in hydrogeology as a part of Hydrogeology Specialization. They are keys to successful careers in academia, federal and state agencies, the environmental and oil industry, in the U.S. and abroad.

Selected Publications

  • Rossman, N.R., Zlotnik, V.A., Rowe, C.M. and Szilagyi, J., 2014, Vadose zone lag time and potential 21st century climate change effects on spatially distributed groundwater recharge in the semi-arid Nebraska Sand Hills, J. Hydrology, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.07.057.

  • Loope D.B., Elder J.F., Zlotnik V.A., Kettler R.M., Pederson D.T, 2013, Jurassic earthquake sequence recorded by multiple generations of sand blows, Zion National Park: Utah, Geology, 41, 1131-1134, doi:doi:10.1130/G34619.1.

  • Rossman, N.R., and V.A. Zlotnik, 2013, Review: Regional groundwater flow modeling in heavily irrigated basins of selected states in the western United States, Hydrogeology Journal, 21, 1173-1192, doi:DOI 10.1007/s10040-013-1010-3.

  • Zlotnik, V.A., J.B. Ong, and J.D. Lenters, J. Schmieder, S.C. Fritz, 2012, Quantification of salt dust pathways from a groundwater-fed lake: implications for solute budgets and dust emission rates, J. Geophys. Res., 117, doi:doi:10.1029/2011JF002107 .

  • Zlotnik,V.A., M.B. Cardenas, D. Toundykov, 2011, Effects of multiscale anisotropy on basin and hyporheic groundwater flow, Ground Water, 49, 576-583, doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2010.00775.x .

  • Szilagyi, J., V.A. Zlotnik, J.B. Gates, J. Jozsa, 2011, Mapping mean annual groundwater recharge in the Nebraska Sand Hills, Hydrogeology J., 19, 1503-1513, doi:10.1007/s10040-011-0769-3.

  • Ong, J., J. Lane, V. Zlotnik, T. Halihan, and E. White, 2010, Combined use of frequency-domain electromagnetic and electrical resistivity surveys to delineate near-lake groundwater flow in the semi-arid Nebraska Sand Hills, USA, Hydrogeology Journal, 18, 1539–1545, doi:DOI 10.1007/s10040-010-0617-x.

  • Kollet, S.J., and V.A. Zlotnik, 2005, Influence of aquifer heterogeneity and return flow on pumping test data interpretation, J. Hydrology, 300, 267-285.

  • Cardenas, M.B.R., J. Wilson, and V.A. Zlotnik, 2004, Impact of heterogeneity, bed forms, and stream curvature on subchannel hyporheic exchange, Water Resources Research, 40(8), W08307, doi:10.1029/2003/2004WR003008.