Carl E. Renshaw

Academic Appointments

Professor of Earth Sciences
Adjunct Professor, Thayer School of Engineering

I am a hydrologist with research interests in the response of rivers and streams to disturbance -- whether the disturbance is natural (e.g. large floods and climate change) or anthropogenic (e.g. dams, dam removal, and industrial and agricultural legacy contaminants).  Much of my work is collaborative with Frank Magilligan.  Our work is motivated by the fact that extreme precipitation events are now 67% more common in New England than they were just 30 years ago.  And New England has one of the highest densities of dams in the U.S. and is one of the leading regions of dam removal in the U.S. – with the number of dams removed year growing exponentially.  Despite the growing number of extreme floods and dam removals, the science of river restoration lags behind its application.  

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We use a wide variety of techniques in our work, including sediment age dating and tracing using both naturally occurring and anthropogenic radionuclide tracers, detailed in-channel topographic, sediment, and habitat surveys, HEC-RAS and RiverFLO-2D flow modeling, remote sensing and GIS analyses, and high-resolution chemical analyses of soil and sediment.

My research interests also include several other projects, most notably in experimental geomechanics with Professor Erland Schulson in Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering (where I am an adjunct professor).  Together we are using ice to answer such challenges as the cause of deep earthquakes, the limits of ice loading of natural and manmade structures in ice infested waters, and whether an understanding of fracture mechanics help to constrain flow and transport in fractured rock aquifers.

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201 Fairchild
HB 6105
Earth Sciences
B.A. Carleton College
M.A. Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D. Stanford University

Selected Publications

Dethier, E., Magilligan, F.J., Renshaw, C.E., The role of chronic and episodic disturbances on channel-hillslope coupling:  The persistence and legacy of extreme floods, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 41(10):1437-1447, 2016.

Gartner, J.D., Magilligan, F.J., Renshaw, C.E., Predicting the type, locations and magnitude of geomorphic responses to dam removal:  Role of hydrologic and geomorphic constraints, Geomorphology, 251(SI):20-30, 2015.

Underwood, J. W., C. E. Renshaw, F. J. Magilligan, W. B. Dade, and J. D. Landis, Joint isotopic mass balance: a novel approach to quantifying channel bed to channel margins sediment transfer during storm events, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 40(12):1563-1573, 2015.

Renshaw, C.E., Marchenko, A., Schulson, E.M., Karulin, E., Effect of compressive loading on first-year sea ice permeability, Journal of Glaciology, in press.

Pichler, T., Renshaw, C.E., Sutlenfuss, J., Geogenic As and Mo groundwater contamination caused by an abundance of domestic supply wells, Applied Geochemistry, doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.03.002, 77(SI): 68-79, 2017.

Schulson, E.M., Nodder, S.T., Renshaw, C.E., On the restoration of strength through stress-driven healing of faults in ice, Acta Materialia, 117:306-310, 2016.

Landis, J.D., Renshaw, C.E., Kaste, J.M., Beryllium-7 and lead-210 chronometry of modern soil processes: the Linked Radionuclide aCcumlation model, LRC, Geochemica et Cosmochimica Acta, 180:109-125, 2016.