Christopher E Neuzil


I investigate how low-permeability formations like clays and shales influence fluid flow, transport of chemical mass, and deformation in the subsurface. These formations control and protect regional groundwater aquifers, cap oil and gas reservoirs and isolate injected wastes and CO2, contain immense quantities of unconventional oil and gas, and even have a role in many of the world’s largest earthquakes. A particular focus is clay-rich rocks as hosts for spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive wastes, and I am collaborating with programs evaluating this option in Europe and Canada. I am also coauthor of the textbook Groundwater in Geologic Processes.



Johns Hopkins, Ph.D., 1980, Hydrogeology

SUNY Binghamton, B.A., 1971, Geology



2017-present   Research Hydrologist Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey, Water Mission Area, Water Cycle Branch

1980-2017       Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, National Research Program

1977-1980:      Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division Office of Research & Technical Coordination.



U.S. Geological Survey Distinguished Service Award, 2018

Geofluids – reviewer of the year award 2010

U.S. Geological Survey Meritorious Service Award, 2004

Geol. Soc. of Amer. Hydrogeology Division Birdsall-Dreiss Lecturer, 1995

Elected Geol. Soc. of Amer.Fellow, 1993

Editor’s Citation for Excellence in Refereeing, Jour. Geophys. Res. 1992

O.E. Meinzer Award, Hydrogeology Div. Geol.Soc. of Amer. 1991



Geofluids, 2003-2016.

Ground Water, 1993-2011.

Water Resources Research, 1993-1996.



Neuzil, C. E., Permeability of clays and shales, Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 47, 247-273,, 2019.

Michael R. Plampin, and C. E. Neuzil, Multiphase flow and underpressured shale at the Bruce nuclear site, Ontario, Canada, in Multiple Roles of Clays in Radioactive Waste Confinement, ed. by S. Norris, E. A. C. Neeft, and M. Van Geet, Geological Society, London, Special Publication 482,, 2018.

Neuzil, C. E., and Mark Person, Reexamining ultrafiltration and solute transport in groundwater, Water Resour. Res., 53, doi:10.1002/2017WR020492, 2017.

Neuzil, C. E., Interpreting fluid pressure anomalies in shallow intraplate argillaceous formations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL064140, 2015. [Link]

Neuzil, C.E., Science is the first step to siting nuclear waste repositories, Eos 95(8), 71, 2014.

Neuzil, Chris, Shale: an overlooked option for US nuclear waste disposal, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Nov. 27, 2014. [Link]

Neuzil, C.E., and A.M. Provost, Ice sheet load cycling and fluid underpressures in the eastern Michigan Basin, Ontario, Canada, Jour. of Geophys. Res. 119(B10), DOI: 10.1002/2014JB011643, 2014.

Neuzil, C.E., Can shale safely host U.S. nuclear waste?, Eos 94(30), 261-262, 2013. [Link]

Provost, A. M., C. I. Voss, and C. E. Neuzil, Glaciation and regional groundwater flow in the Fennoscandian Shield, Geofluids 12(1), 79-96, 2012.

Person, M., J. McIntosh, N. Iverson, C. E. Neuzil, and V. Bense, Geologic isolation of nuclear waste at high latitudes: The role of ice sheets,Geofluids 12(1), 1-6, 2012.

Neuzil, C. E., Hydromechanical effects of continental glaciation on groundwater systems, Geofluids 12(1), 22-37, 2012.

Neuzil, C. E., and A. M. Provost, Recent data point to a greater role for osmotic pressures in the subsurface, Water Resour. Res., 45, W03410, doi:10.1029/2007WR006450, 2009.

Buruss, R.C., S.T. Brennan, P.A. Freeman, M.D. Merrill, L.F. Ruppert, M.F. Becker, W.N. Herkelrath, Y.K. Kharaka, C.E. Neuzil, S.M. Swanson, T.A. Cook, T.R. Klett, P.H. Nelson, and C.J. Schenk, Development of a probabilistic methodology for evaluation of carbon dioxide storage, U.S. Geol. Surv. Open File Rept. 2009-1035, 81p., 2009.

Neuzil, C.E., and L.F. Konikow, Reply to comment by T.N. Narasimhan on “A method to estimate groundwater depletion from confining layers”, Water Resour. Res. 44, W06421, doi: 10.1029/2008WR007084, 2008.

Konikow, L. F., and C. E. Neuzil, A method to estimate groundwater depletion from confining layers, Water Resour. Res. 43, W07417, doi: 10.1029/2006WR005597, 2007.

Garavito, A. M., H. Kooi, and C. E. Neuzil, Numerical modeling of a long-term in-situ chemical osmosis experiment in the Pierre Shale, South Dakota, Adv. in Water Resour. 29, 481-492, 2006.

Ingebritsen, S. E., W. E. Sanford, and C. E. NeuzilGroundwater in Geologic Processes, Cambridge Univ. Press, 535 p., 2006.

Neuzil, C. E., Nothing older than three years, Ground Water 42(6), 797, 2004.

Neuzil, C. E., Hydromechanical coupling in geologic processes, Hydrogeol. Jour. 11(1), 41-83, 2003.

Neuzil, C. E., Comment on “A creative solution to the NIMBY problem” Editorial by Jay Lehr and Herbert Inhaber, Ground Water 41(6), 722, 2003.

Neuzil, C. E., Osmotic generation of ‘anomalous’ fluid pressures in geological environments, Nature 403, 182 - 184, 2000.

Neuzil, C. E., Hydrogeology, Geotimes 43(2), 38 - 39, 1998.

Neuzil, C. E., and K. Belitz, Fracture control of the hydrology of the North American midconti­nental shales, in Fluid Flow Through Faults and Fractures in Argillaceous Formations, Pro­ceedings of the International Workshop held in Berne, Switzerland, 10 - 12 June, 1996, Paris, OECD/NEA, 1998.

Provost, A. M., C. I. Voss, and C. E. Neuzil, Glaciation and regional ground-water flow in the Fennoscandian Shield, SKI (Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate) Report 96:11, 82 p., 1998.

Neuzil, C. E., Abnormal pressures as hydrodynamic phenomena, Amer. Jour. of Sci. 295(6), 742 - 786, 1995.

Neuzil, C. E., Characterization of flow properties, driving forces, and pore-water chemistry in the ultra-low permeability Pierre Shale, North America, in Hydraulic and Hydrochemical Characterization of Argillaceous Rocks, Proceedings of the International Workshop held in Nottingham, England, 7 - 9 June, 1994, Paris, OECD/NEA, 1995.

Neuzil, C. E., How permeable are clays and shales?, Water Resour. Res. 30(2), 145 - 150, 1994.

Neuzil, C. E., Low fluid pressure within the Pierre Shale: A transient response to erosion, Water Resour. Res. 29(7), 2007 - 2020, 1993.

Silliman, S. E., and C. E. Neuzil, Borehole determination of formation thermal conductiv­ity using a thermal pulse from injected fluid, Jour. Geophys. Res. 95(B6), 8697 - 8704, 1990.

Neuzil, C. E., Groundwater flow in low-permeability environments, Water Resour. Res22(8), 1163 - 1195, 1986.

Neuzil, C. E., Comment on ‘Possible effects of erosional changes of the topographic relief on pore pressure at depth,’ by J. Tóth and R. F. Millar, Water Resour. Res21(6), 895 - 898, 1985.

Neuzil, C. E., J. D. Bredehoeft, and R. G. Wolff, 1984, Leakage and fracture permeability in the Cretaceous shales confining the Dakota Aquifer in South Dakota, in Proc. of the First C. V. Theis Conf. on Geohydrology, Oct. 5 - 6, 1982, Lincoln, NB, ed. by D. G. Jorgenson and D. C. Signor, National Water Well Assoc., Worthington OH, 1984.

Neuzil, C. E., and D. W. Pollock, Erosional unloading anf fluid pressures in hydraulically ‘tight’ rocks, Jour. of Geol. 91(2), 179-193, 1983.

Bredehoeft, J. D., C. E. Neuzil, and P. C. D. Milly, Regional flow in the Dakota Aquifer: A study of the roles of confining layers, U. S. Geol. Surv. Water-Sup. Paper 2237, 45 p., 1983.

Neuzil, C. E., On conducting the modified ‘slug’ test in tight rocks, Water Resour. Res. 18(2), 439 - 441, 1982.

Neuzil, C. E., and J. V. Tracy, Flow through fractures, Water Resour. Res17(1), 191 - 199, 1981.

Hsieh, P. A., J. V. Tracy, C. E. Neuzil, J. D. Bredehoeft, and S. E. Silliman, A transient method for determining the hydraulic properties of ‘tight’ rocks - I. Theory, Int. Jour. of Rock Mech. and Mining Sci. 18(3), 245 - 252, 1981.

Neuzil, C. E., C. Cooley, S. E. Silliman, J. D. Bredehoeft, and P. A. Hsieh, A transient method for determining the hydraulic properties of ‘tight’ rocks - II. Application, Int. Jour. of Rock Mech. and Mining Sci. 18(3), 253 - 258, 1981.