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About Lee J Florea, PhD, P.G.

Research themes
My body of scholarly activities spans the natural sciences as they pertain to the understanding of carbonate aquifers – aquifers that have been cited to influence the drinking water of one out of every four people on the globe. As such, I bring to bear my training and experiences in hydrogeology, geomorphology, geochemistry, geophysics, carbonate geology, and biology to answer specific questions that can help regulators, water managers, and scientists understand the processes that influence the groundwater in regions dominated by sinkholes, caves, and springs.
My research often begins in the cave, the internal plumbing of carbonate aquifers. Much of my scholarly activity has revolved around the mapping, analysis, and interpretation of these caves and how their organization influences the hydrogeology and geochemistry of a region. I also investigate the geomorphology and geophysical data from karst regions and use these data to interpret landscape evolution. My current research questions include:
Do values of stable isotopes of carbon and sulfur from a wide range of karst aquifers in the Cumberland Plateau suggest that carbonic acid speleogenesis, while dominant, is not the only contributor of DIC in shallow groundwater?
What can studies of low-temperature geochemistry, groundwater tracing, and stable-isotope processes reveal about vadose-zone hydrology in karst aquifers from a range of geologic environments?
What will long term geophysical and hydrogeologic investigations during the Ball State geothermal conversion reveal about the efficacy of large-scale ground-source geothermal projects?
Teaching Philosophy
My focus in all courses, large and small, has been active and experiential teaching using inquiry-based learning and the Socratic Method. My methods include demonstrations, field trips, and stories of personal experiences. I have developed four main goals for my students in science: an understanding of fundamental principles, knowledge of forms and processes, a foundation in quantitative literacy, and an appreciation for effective communication. These goals are oriented toward expanding the personal horizons of students so that they become more effective and active citizens with the ability to take the next step toward a range of possible vocations.


2017 - Present Adjunct Faculty, Indiana University ‐ Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
October 2016 - Present Assistant Director of Research, Indiana University ‐ Indiana Geological and Water Survey
2012 - Present Indiana Licensed Professional Geologist #2360, Indiana University
2010 - Present Kentucky Registered Professional Geologist #2501, Indiana University
October 2016 - December 2016 Fulbright Scholar, Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca ‐ Faculty of Biology and Geology

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Cave and Karst Science, Hydrogeology, Geochemistry, Carbonate Geology, Geophysics, and Cartography and GIS

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Honors and Awards

  • University Immersive Learning Award, Ball State University
  • Certificate of Appreciation, National Speleologica Survey
  • Fellow and Life Member, National Speleological Society
  • Wakonse Fellow
  • Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, US Geological Survey
  • History of Geology Student Award
  • Skip Davis Outstanding Graduate Student
  • Pi Mu Epsilon, Math Honor Society
  • Sigma Pi Sigma, Physics Honor Society
  • Eagle Scout
  • Fulbright Scholar


  • Tropical Island Environments


August 2002 - December 2006 PhD, University of South Florida ‐ Department of Geology
August 1996 - December 1998 MS, University of Missouri ‐ Department of Geology
August 1991 - May 1996 BS, Western Kentucky University ‐ Department of Physics and Astronomy

Contact Information

Indiana Geological and Water Survey
Indiana University
611 N Walnut Grove St.
Bloomington, IN 47405


Bibliometrics (2)

Geochemistry and Climatology (15)

Hydrogeology (23)