International Conference
Novel Methods for Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring:
From Theory to Practice
NovCare 2015
May 19-21, 2015
Lawrence, Kansas, USA
Application of Direct Push -Technology for subsurface characterization ( Photo: Künzelmann(UFZ))

Approximately 100 researchers, consultants, regulators, and students gathered at the Oread Hotel in Lawrence, Kansas, May 19-21, 2015, to participate in NovCare 2015 (Novel Methods for Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring: From Theory to Practice). This was the fourth edition of the international, biennial conference series focusing on innovative methods for characterizing and monitoring aquifers, soils, and watersheds. The conference was organized by personnel from the Kansas Geological Survey and the Department of Geology at the University of Kansas (KU) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany. The conference was also supported by KU’s Office of the Provost and the KU Center for Research. In addition, ten private companies served as sponsors and exhibited at the meeting.

Session topics at NovCare 2015 included direct-push characterization of soils and aquifers, long-term monitoring and opportunistic characterization (natural/anthropogenic stimuli and tracers of opportunity), characterization at the interface (stream-aquifer interactions and coastal settings), hydrogeological investigation techniques, integrated characterization of the unsaturated and saturated zones, geotechnical site characterization, and new tools for watershed characterization. In addition to the approximately 35 contributed oral presentations and nine poster presentations, the meeting featured nine keynote presentations , an afternoon field demonstration session, two mini courses , and a presentation by the 2015 Darcy Lecturer , which was open to the public. The meeting also featured a well-attended and enjoyable banquet at Lawrence’s Free State Brewery.

Judging by the liveliness of the question and answer sessions following presentations, the informal discussions between sessions, and the final open discussion regarding challenges in transferring new techniques and insights into practice, NovCare 2015 clearly achieved its goal of providing a forum for exchange of information on the latest developments in near-surface characterization. We anticipate that this tradition will continue in future editions of the meeting, the next of which will be held in Germany, in 2017.

Conference Highlights:

  • Sixty talks and posters by presenters from five continents.
  • Nine keynote speakers presented recent developments in subsurface characterization. The presentations spaned the full breadth of the conference thematic areas from airborne electromagnetics to in-situ high-frequency monitoring of water chemistry.
  • Dr. Rainer Helwig presented his 2015 Darcy Lecture on the energy-groundwater nexus in a presentation open to the general public on the second morning of the conference.
  • Field Demonstrations : recent technological developments for subsurface characterization was demonstrated at a nearby Kansas Geological Survey field site. Demonstrations involved direct-push methods for high-resolution subsurface characterization, surface and downhole methods based on nuclear magnetic resonance technology, distributed temperature sensing applications for groundwater flux measurements, and point measurements of groundwater velocity.
  • Sponsor Exhibits – conference sponsors showcased their tools and services at exhibits throughout the conference.
  • Mini-courses – tutorial-like seminars helped attendees understand 1) geostatistical methods for exploiting high-resolution spatial data, 2) the wide range of direct-push methods for subsurface characterization.

Conference Organizers

Kansas Geological Survey
UFZ- Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Department of GEology


  • Special Issue on NovCare 2015: Deadline of submission September 30, 2015


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Zonge logo
Solinst logo
Midwest Geosciences logo
Ontash & Ermac, Inc.logo
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XRI Geo logo
Matrix Environmental LCC  logo
AMS logo

Contact us

NovCare 2015 Kansas Coordinator
Steve Knobbe
Kansas Geological Survey
University of Kansas

+1 785 864-2111

NovCare 2015 European Coordinator
Uta Sauer
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Department Monitoring and Exploration Technologies

+49 341 235-1458 (new)
+49 341 235-1837

Past Conferences

NovCare 2009 (May 13-16, 2009 in Leipzig, Germany)

NovCare 2011 (May 9-11, 2011 in Cape Code, USA)

NovCare 2013 (May 13-16, 2013 in Leipzig, Germany)