Erick R Burns

Erick is a research hydrologist at the USGS Oregon Water Science Center. He specializes in the development of methods and tools for analysis and simulation of groundwater and heat flow in the subsurface, particularly in the volcanogenic terrains of California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.


Erick Burns is a research hydrologist with the USGS Oregon Water Science Center.  His research experience is varied, including groundwater flow and transport, geothermal energy, geostatistical methods and stochastic analysis, process thermodynamics, agricultural water pollution, and seawater intrusion. Additionally, Erick has taught hydrology and geostatistics courses. 



Oregon State University                 Bioresource Engineering -  Ph.D.  2004

Oregon State University                 Mathematics - M.S.  2004

University of Nevada – Reno           Hydrologic Sciences (Groundwater) - M.S.  1996

Northern Arizona University            Geology (extended major: geophysics) - B.S.  1994



Burns, E.R., Zhu, Y., Zhan, H.B., Manga, M., Williams, C.F., Ingebritsen, S.E., and Dunham, J.B., 2017, Thermal effect of climate change on groundwater-fed ecosystems, accepted by Water Resources Research (in press).

Burns, E. R., S. E. Ingebritsen, M. Manga, and C. F. Williams, 2016, Evaluating geothermal and hydrogeologic controls on regional groundwater temperature distribution, Water Resour. Res., 52, 1328–1344, doi:10.1002/ 2015WR018204.

Burns, E.R., Williams, C.F., Tolan, T., and Kaven, J.O., 2016, Are the Columbia River Basalts, Columbia Plateau, Oregon and Washington, USA, a Viable Geothermal Target?  A Preliminary Analysis, PROCEEDINGS, v41, Forty-first Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering Stanford University, Stanford, California, February 22-24, 2016.

Heywood, C.E., Kahle, S.C., Olsen, T.D., Patterson, J.D., and Burns, E.R., 2016, Simulation of groundwater storage changes in the eastern Pasco Basin, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5026, 44 p., 1 pl.,

Burns, E.R., Williams, C.F., Ingebritsen, S.E., Voss, C.I., Spane, F.A., and DeAngelo, J., 2015, Understanding Heat and Groundwater Flow through Continental Flood Basalt Provinces: Insights Gained from Alternative Models of Permeability/Depth Relationships for the Columbia Plateau, USA, Geofluids (2015) 15, 120–138, doi: 10.1111/gfl.12095. [Link]

Vaccaro, J.J., Kahle, S.C., Ely, D.M., Burns, E.R., Snyder, D.T., Haynes, J.V., Olsen, T.D., Welch, W.B., and Morgan, D.S., 2015, Groundwater availability of the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1817, 87 p. [Link]

Shervais, J.W., Glen, J.M., Liberty, L.M., Dobson, P., Gasperikova, E., Sonnenthal, E., Visser, C., Nielson, D., Garg, S., Evans, J.P., Siler, D., DeAngelo, J., Athens, N., and Burns, E., 2015, Snake River Plain Play Fairway Analysis – Phase 1 Report. Geothermal Resources Council Transactions, v39.

Sheets, R.A., and Burns, E.R., 2014, Geothermal Heating and Cooling -- The Role of Groundwater: The Ohio Water Table, No. 129 (Spring), Water Management Association of Ohio, Columbus, Ohio [Link]

Ely, D.M., Burns, E.R., Morgan, D.S., and Vaccaro, J.J., 2014, Numerical simulation of groundwater flow in the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington (ver. 1.1, January 2015): U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5127, 90 p. [Link]

Herrera, N.B., Burns, E.R., and Conlon, T.D., 2014, Simulation of groundwater flow and the interaction of groundwater and surface water in the Willamette Basin and Central Willamette subbasin, Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5136, 152 p. [Link]

Gomberg, J., B. Sherrod, M. Trautman, E. Burns, and D. Snyder, 2012. Contemporary Seismicity in and around the Yakima Fold-and-Thrust Belt in Eastern Washington, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 102:309-320, DOI 10.1785/0120110065.

Burns, E.R., Morgan, D.S., Lee, K.K., Haynes, J.V., and Conlon, T.D., 2012, Evaluation of long-term water-level declines in basalt aquifers near Mosier, Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5002, 134 p. [Link]

Burns, E.R, Snyder, D.T, Haynes, J.V., and Waibel, M.S., 2012, Groundwater status and trends for the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5261, 52 p. [Link]

Burns, E.R., Morgan, D.S., Peavler, R.S., and Kahle, S.C., 2011, Three-dimensional model of the geologic framework for the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5246, 44 p. (Interactive webtool: [Link]

Burns, E.R., L.R. Bentley, R. Therrien, and C.V. Deutsch, 2010. Upscaling facies models to preserve connectivity of designated facies, Hydrogeology Journal (2010) 18: 1357–1373, DOI 10.1007/s10040-010-0607-z.

Burns, E.R., L.R. Bentley, M. Hayashi, S.E. Grasby, A.P Hamblin, D.G. Smith, and P.R.J. Wozniak, 2010. Hydrogeological implications of paleo-fluvial architecture for the Paskapoo Formation, SW Alberta, Canada: a stochastic analysis, Hydrogeology Journal (2010) 18: 1375–1390, DOI 10.1007/s10040-010-0608-y.

Burns, E.R., M.I. Dragila, J.S. Selker, R.B. Guenther, J.Y. Parlange, and N. Weisbrod, 2007. Correction of the Buckingham–Darcy Law for flow of high strength salts in variably saturated porous media, Advances in Water Resources v. 30, is. 3, pp. 469-482, doi:10.1016/j.advwatres.2006.04.010.

Burns, E.R., J.Y. Parlange, J.S. Selker, and R.B. Guenther, 2006. Thermodynamic Correction for Salts in Variably Saturated Porous Media, Transport in Porous Media, v. 63, no. 3, June, pp. 381-398, doi:10.1007/s11242-005-8431-y.

Burns, E.R., J.S. Selker, J.Y. Parlange, and R.B. Guenther, 2006. Effects of Sodium Chloride on Constitutive Relations in Variably Saturated Porous Media, Water Resources Research v. 42, is. 5, W05405, 14 pp., doi:10.1029/2005WR004060.

Rooklidge, S.J., E.R. Burns., and J.P. Bolte, 2005. Modeling Antimicrobial Contaminant Removal in Slow Sand Filtration, Water Research, v. 39, is. 2-3, Jan-Feb, pp. 331-339.

Hickey, R., E. Burns, J. Bolte, and D. Walker, 2005. Development of a Statewide Erosion Vulnerability Screening Tool for Oregon, Geography Online, April.