Morgan State University Chair Emeritus

Dr. Donald C. Helm

Dr. Donald C. Helm, Morgan State’s Massie Chair, received his A.B. (cum laude) from Amherst College, his M.Div. from the Hartford Seminary, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Helm has worked as a research hydrologist in the Water Resources Division of the US Geological Survey, for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he served as Group Leader of the Geohydrology and Environmental Studies Group, and as Principal Research Scientist (in groundwater mechanics) in the Division of Geomechanics of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's premier research institution. More recently, Dr. Helm was a professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he also served as Chief of the Las Vegas Office of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, which functions as the Nevada State Geological Survey. His areas of research include mathematics, physics, geophysics, hydrology, geology and engineering (soil mechanics, rock mechanics, and groundwater hydraulics). These interests have taken him to India, Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Nigeria, Mexico and Venezuela, as well as throughout the western U.S.A. Dr. Helm is recognized internationally as a leading authority in theoretical aquifer mechanics and in code development for predicting three-dimensional transient land subsidence caused by subsurface fluid withdrawal.

Dr. Helm is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and of The Institution of Engineers, Australia (College of Civil Engineers). He has received a number of honors including the outstanding educator of the year award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Maryland Section, best research publication of the year award from the Association of Engineering Geologists, twice nominated for the Horton Award by the Groundwater Committee of the America Geophysical Union.

A Discussion with Dr. Helm on Program Goals

"We are mindful of the challenges related to environmental cleanup in the Massie Chair Program at Morgan State University. We place special emphasis on approaching environmental problems in a practical, task-oriented way, with a view on prevention. There is a strong interest in urban environmental matters, environmental justice, and history studies as they relate to local environmental impacts. Our environmental research at Morgan State University includes aquifer mechanics, contaminant transport, geo-engineering, hydrogeology, site characterization, bioremediation, soil remediation, surface water and ground water hydrology, environmental engineering, low-emission/high-efficiency combustion energy systems, risk assessment, land subsidence, earthquake engineering, the generation of porosity heterogeneities within the vadose zone, modeling and simulation using high-performance computers, and more. One of the desired outcomes is to have sustainable research and teaching activities within the area of environmental studies that are capable of attracting and supporting quality graduate students within the fledgling graduate program of the engineering school. Both conducting word-class research and sending well-trained engineers into the national workforce who are able to recognize and capable of helping to alleviate future environmental problems are among our greatest thrusts."

Recent Publications in Refereed Journals

  1. "Mechanisms of Earth Fissuring Caused by Groundwater Withdrawal," Z.P. Sheng and D.C. Helm, Environmental and Engineering Geology, 2003.
     

  2. "Study on a Dynamic Stress and Strain Constitutive Law of Clay," Ding, D., J. Li, and D.C. Helm, in Lee and others(eds.), Soft Soil Engineering, 2002.
     

  3. "Using an Analytic Solution to Estimate the Subsidence Risk Caused by ASR applications," Li, J., and Helm, D.C., Environmental and Engineering Geoscience, 2001.
     

  4. "Fissures in Yucca Flay Dry Lake Bed, Nevada Test Site, Chapter 5," Helm, D.C., in Looney, B.B., Falta, R.W. (eds.) Vadose Zone: Science and Technology Solutions, Battelle Press, Columbus, Ohio, 2001.
     

  5. "A Nonlinear Viscous Model For Aquifer Compression Associated With ASR Applications," Li, J, and Helm, D.C. in Carbognin, L., Gambolati, G., and Johnson, A.I.(eds.) Land Subsidence, 2000.
     

  6. "Modeling Three-Dimensional Deformation in Response to Pumping of Unconsolidated Aquifers," T.J. Burbey and D.C. Helm, Environmental and Engineering Geoscience, 1999.
     

  7. "Viscous Drag, Driving Forces, and Their Reduction to Darcy's Law," J. Li, and D.C. Helm, Water Resources Research, 1998.
     

  8. "An Analytic Solution for Subsidence Due to Pumping-Injecting Activity," J. Li, and D.C. Helm, Proceedings of the 8th International Congress of the Internat. Assoc. for Engg. Geol. and the Envir., 1998.
     

  9. "Controlling Factors for Earth Fissures Caused by Ground Water Withdrawal," Sheng, Z., and D.C. Helm, Proceedings of the 8th International Congress of the Internat. Assoc. for Engg. Geol. and the Envir., 1998.
     

  10. "Poroviscosity," D.C. Helm, Assoc. of Engg. Geologists Special Publ. # 8, Land Subsidence Case Histories and Current Research: Proceedings of the Dr. J.F. Poland Symposium on Land Subsidence, 1998.
     

  11. "A Theory for Dynamic Motion of Saturated Soil Characterized by Viscous Behavior," J. Li, and D.C. Helm, Assoc. of Engg. Geologists Special Publ. # 8, Land Subsidence Case Histories and Current Research: Proceedings of the Dr. J.F. Poland Symposium on Land Subsidence, 1998.
     

  12. "Multiple Steps of Earth Fissuring Caused by Ground Water Withdrawal," Z. Sheng and D.C. Helm, Assoc. of Engg. Geologists Special Publ. # 8, Land Subsidence Case Histories and Current Research: Proceedings of the Dr. J.F. Poland Symposium on Land Subsidence,1998.
     

  13. "Ground Cracking on Quaternary Faults in Nevada - Hydraulic or Tectonic?" J.W. Bell and D.C. Helm, Assoc. of Engg. Geologists Special Publ. # 8, Land Subsidence Case Histories and Current Research: Proceedings of the Dr. J.F. Poland Symposium on Land Subsidence, 1998.
     

  14. "Land Subsidence Due to Ground Water Withdrawal in Hanoi, Vietnam," T.Q. Nguyen and D.C. Helm, Assoc. of Engg. Geologists Special Publ. # 8, Land Subsidence Case Histories and Current Research: Proceedings of the Dr. J.F. Poland Symposium on Land Subsidence, 1998.
     

  15. "Numerical Formulation of Dynamic Behavior Within Saturated Soil Characterized by Elasto-Viscous Behavior with an Application to Las Vegas Valley," J. Li and D.C. Helm, Proceedings of the 9th Internat. Conf. Of the Assoc. for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, 1997.
     

  16. "Horizontal Aquifer Movement of a Theis-Thiem Confined System," D.C. Helm, Water Resources Research, 1994.
     

  17. "Displacement Discontinuity Modeling of Fissuring Caused by Groundwater Withdrawal in Siriwardine," Z.P. Sheng and D.C. Helm, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference of the Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, 1994.
     

  18. "Computerized Data Management System for Evaluating Subsidence Predictions," D.C. Helm, Proceedings of the International Workshop on Groundwater and Environment, 1992.
     

Professional Organizations/Associations

Maryland Society of Professional Engineers  (State V.P.; Baltimore Chapter Pres.)
New York Academy of Sciences                                    
National Society of Professional Engineers                              
The Geological Society of America       (Fellow)                                
The Institution of Engineers, Australia (Fellow)                

(College of Civil Engineers)                                            

International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering      
International Society of Rock Mechanics                         
International Association of Engineering Geology                        
International Association of Hydrogeologists
International Association of Hydrological Sciences                              
American Geophysical Union                                              
Association of Engineering Geologists                                   
American Society of Civil Engineers                                     

National Ground Water Association (formerly, National Water Well Association)

American Chemical Society

American Institute of Professional Geologists                   

Engineers Society of Baltimore (Board of Directors)                             
Australian Geomechanics Society                                 
American Society of Mechanical Engineers                                
American Water Resources Association                    
Nevada Water Resources Association                              
American Association for the Advancement of Science             
American Society for Testing and Materials                              
Association of Geoscientists for International Development              
Society of Exploration Geophysicists

List of Accomplishments

2003-2005

Invited Keynote Speaker, Earth Fissures Symposium, 2005 Annual Meeting, Association of Engineering Geologists.

Invited Expert Witness for Hearings on Geothermal Resource Development and Production, New Zealand.

2002-1999

Citizen Citation from Martin O'Malley, Mayor of Baltimore, for public service through the Greater Baltimore Committee (Water/Waste Water Subcommittee)

Massie Chairs Program Award for Outstanding Research and Educational Accomplishments

1998-1996

Board of Directors, Maryland Society of Professional Engineers

1995-1993

Award for Best Paper of the Previous Year in Environmental and Engineering Geology from the Association of Engineering Geologists

Engraved Certificate of Appreciation, Chinese (Taiwanese) Institute of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering

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