90% of geophysicists in the world explore for oil and gas. Another 5% explore for mineral resources. And another 4.9% teach and regulate the previous 95%. In today’s world, fluctuating commodity prices and mountainous stockpiles of recycled metals tell us that we have too much oil, uranium, coal, and iron ore. Today and in the foreseeable future, what the world is drastically scarce of is clean water, clean soil, and a common cultural legacy. Those remaining less than 0.1% of geophysicists not accounted for, above, are dedicated to developing techniques to explore for potable water, mapping soil salinization, demining previously productive agricultural land, and delineating subsurface remains of culturally rich sites threatened by development. With examples from Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, we can see how these non-destructive subsurface investigation techniques can radically improve life not only on a local and regional scale, but even on a continent wide scale. And where we are not using these approaches, we can envision how the development of access to clean water, clean soil, and mankind’s cultural legacies can be greatly improved.
Paul Bauman is the Technical Director of the Geophysics group at WorleyParsons, in Calgary, where he has been working since 1990. He is one of the world experts on near surface applications of borehole and surface geophysical methods as applied to investigations in water resources, archaeology, soil science, geotechnical engineering, subsurface contamination, and geohazard identification. Paul has a B.Sc.E. in Geological Engineering from Princeton University, a Minor in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton, and an M.Sc. in Earth Sciences from the University of Waterloo. Paul has published widely in peer reviewed journals, scientific volumes, and conference proceedings. He has presented geophysical papers at over 100 conferences in an extraordinarily wide range of disciplines including geophysics, soil science, hydrogeology, disaster relief, archaeology, water resource development, contaminant hydrogeology, mining, mine waste management, heavy oil, shallow gas, salt water intrusion, salt water intrusion, etc. He has been an invited speaker at many educational, professional, and government institutions including Princeton University, Boston University, California State, the University of Pennsylvania, the National Water Authority in Yemen, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Royal BC Museum, and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife. Aspects of his archaeogeophysical work have been the subject of a NOVA documentary (Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land), numerous radio and television interviews, a National Geographic movie entitled “Finding Atlantis,” and numerous newspaper and magazine articles including in Time, National Geographic, and the Reader’s Digest. Paul’s work in the Cave of Letters and other sites is featured in the recently published popular books Secrets of the Cave of Letters: Rediscovering a Dead Sea Mystery; Digging Through the Bible: Modern Archaeology and the Ancient Bible; and Digging through History: Archaeology and Religion from Atlantis to the Holocaust. Ongoing archaeogeophysical projects include the subsurface imaging of a Roman bath house from the time of Jesus, located in Nazareth; the geophysical mapping of the ancient Phoenician harbour of Tel Akko, perhaps the first constructed harbour in the world; and the geophysical mapping of the destroyed and buried remains of a World War II Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor, Poland. A few water resource projects of note include the introduction of an entirely new approach to water exploration in Africa, which raised success rates in drilling from less than 20% to over 90% in Malawi; innovative and successful geophysical water exploration programs in Yemen which tapped previously unused aquifers in areas that had gone years without significant rainfall; and the secondment to UNICEF to assess the impact of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami to the water resources of Aceh Province in Indonesia, and to begin the redevelopment and rehabilitation of water supplies to the region — besides being an experienced geophysicist and hydrogeologist, Paul speaks fluent Indonesian and Malay.