Reactive Transport Modeling Workshop

Dates and Location: April 13 – 15, 2014
Embassy Suites Alexandria Hotel, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314

The workshop will bring together biogeochemists and reactive transport modelers to identify key interfaces between reactive transport modeling approaches and biogeochemical data collection and analysis. The specific goals of the workshop are to (1) identify the frontiers of reactive transport in the biogeochemical sciences, and (2) determine what educational and infrastructure development is required to achieve these goals.


We designed a survey to collect feedback from the community about the educational and development needs in the area of Reactive Transport Modeling for biogeochemical studies. It is a short survey and should take 5 – 10 minutes to finish. Here is the link to the survey:


The formation, operation, and evolution of Earth systems are complex due to the coupling of physical, chemical, and biological processes in the subsurface. Such coupling plays a pivotal role in the conversion of rock to soil, release of nutrients from minerals for ecosystem vitality, and cycling of biogeochemically important elements and contaminants. Data collection and analysis coupled with field observation have provided significant insights into the factors that determine the evolution of the critical zone. Mechanistic understanding and prediction of the intimately coupled processes, however, often requires advanced modeling tools that can integrate large and diverse data sets to quantify the effects of individual processes, while at the same time provide a window into the coupled processes that may control the overall system behavior.

Reactive Transport Modeling (RTM) has been used at various research fronts for approximately three decades. It has been used to understand complex subsurface processes in many applications, including weathering and soil formation, remediation, natural attenuation, and geological carbon sequestration. In addition, RTM is now becoming essential for the understanding of key societal issues such as “fracking” and nuclear waste disposal. We seek to specifically address the three issues below, including both technical and educational components, in order to advance the role of reactive transport modeling in Biogeochemical Sciences:

Technical developments:

  • What are key outstanding hypotheses that could be addressed with current capabilities?
  • What are additional modeling capabilities that would expand the scope of scientific hypotheses that can be addressed?

Education and resources supporting reactive transport models:

  • What educational tools are critically needed but are not available, and how should these be developed?


Workshop Agenda:

Workshop will start at 7 pm on Sunday, April 13, and end at 3 pm on Tuesday, April 15.


One page white paper:

Each workshop participant will contribute a white paper (including one key figure) outlining a their view on one of the three key topics below, and will present a 5-minute “summary” talk during the appropriate workshop discussion. Please see detailed instructions.


Contacts and organizers:


Workshop Logistics, Travel and Reimbursement:

  • You will be responsible up front for all of your expenses for this meeting and then be reimbursed afterwards. This means that you will need to make your own travel arrangements (specifically airfare and lodging).
  • We have secured a block of rooms at the Embassy Suites Alexandria Hotel, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314 (Phone: 800-228-9290 or 703-684-5900). When calling, use the following group code: PEN. There is also a webpage that you may use to book your hotel room ( The room block will be available through Friday, March 21, 2014 @ a rate of $229/night (plus taxes/fees).  Please identify yourself as part of the “Penn State RTM Workshop” group. After this date, the rate cannot be guaranteed. Please make your airfare reservations immediately to keep airfare costs down. Check-in date will be April 13, 2014 (begins 3:00 PM), and Check-out date will be April 15, 2014 (ends 12:00 PM noon). The workshop ends at 3 pm on April 15, instead of 12 pm noon.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday, April 14, 2014 will be provided.  Breakfast and lunch will also be provided during the workshop on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. There will be an icebreaker/reception Sunday evening, April 13 (details will follow).
  • You will need to submit the PSU travel reimbursement form, the Visitor Information Form, along with all of your receipts (airfare, lodging, ground transportation & meals) to Bradley King or Deb Detwiler , Earth & Environmental Systems Institute, 2217 EES Bldg., University Park, PA 16802 or via email as a pdf.

Food: If you have special dietary needs, please email Bradley King or Debra Detwiler before April 9th, 2014.


Travel and Reimbursement Forms: