I am a hydrogeologist (PhD Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 2004) with a wide-ranging interesting in physical processes in the subsurface related to the occurence and movement of groundwater. I spend a total of 11-years in the US (Indiana University, Bloomington) and UK (University of East Anglia, Norwich) before landing in Wageningen in 2015 to continue my work at HWM.
I am co-author, with Prof. Kevin Hiscock, of the internationally distributed textbook Hydrogeology - Principles and Practice
I have a long-standing activity in the following hydrogeological research topics:
Groundwater in cold-regions
Permafrost covered areas are currently rapidly transitioning into more temperate hydrogeological conditions driven by surface warming. The impacts of this are manifold, and include the increasing discharge of water during winter months, as well as the enhanced subsurface release and transport of C, N and other compounds. At HWM, we study these processes using state-of-the-art modeling tools, field investigation, and laboratory experiments that lead to a better understanding of current unstable states in these systems, and hence build the capacity to better forecast the hydrogeological conditions across cold-regions for the coming decades.
The distribution of subsurface temperatures is gouverned by heatflow processes, including advection of heat by groundwater flow. Therefore, temperature measurements inside piezometers can potentially yield valuable insight in hydrogeological conditions. Ongoing work in the Veluwe region, nearby Wageningen, has revealed the strong transience in subsurface temperature conditions as a result of surface warming. Novel methodologies to interpret thermal data from this area has led to renewed estimates of recharge conditions across this nationally important fresh water store.
Bense, V. F., & Kurylyk, B. L. (2017). Tracking the subsurface signal of decadal climate warming to quantify vertical groundwater flow rates. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 12,244–12,253. doi: 10.1002/2017GL076015
Fault zone hydrogeology
Since my days as a PhD student, I have been working on improving our understanding of the hydrogeological character of fault zones. They are enigmatic features behaving as either conduits, barriers, or combined conduit-barrier systems depending on their geological setting.
Bense, V.F., T. Gleeson, S.E. Loveless, O. Bour (2013), Fault zone hydrogeology, Earth Science Reviews, doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.09.008