Basically I'm interested in water - especially water that has flowed through big holes underground. Those holes can be karst settings or coal mines. I'm particularly interested in the water chemistry as it flows from the subsurface to the surface at springs and from mine portals.
My research is interdisciplinary and spans from very small to very large in size. On the small size, I look at metal speciation and water-rock interactions. On the large size, I look at how structure and straitgraphy control water chemistry in watersheds of the Appalachian Valley & Ridge Province.
I've summarized a few projects here but if you want to see the bigger picture, I suggest you search the GSA abstract database for "Vesper". Most of my students present their regularly and it will give you an updated view of what the whole group is doing.
Coal Mine Waters. Current work looking at coal mine waters includes the influence of storms and hydrology on water chemistry, carbon flux from the mines, cycling of rare earth elements, the generation of alkalinity, and suulfuric-acid weathering systems.
PROTECT (Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats). This is a large mutidiscplinary project lead by Northeastern Univ. and the Univ. of Puerto Rico. The focus is how contamination in the karst system impacts human health. Recently we've been interested in the organic carbon desposited in karst aquifers. Funded by the NIEHS-SRPO Program.
SPRINGS. We're always looking at springs. The focus has been carbon flux, precipitation kinetics, geologic controls on water chemistry, and using temperature to evaluate resource water sustainability. We work in cold springs, warm springs, mineral springs, tufa springs, sandstone springs... we just like springs.