Hayden Burt ’22


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Project Title

Interactions Between Soil Formation, Landscape Evolution and Hydrologic Cycle

Presentation Link

View Hayden's Presentation

My research was motivated by the questions surrounding how soil formation over geological timescales is based on environmental forcing. I worked at The Watershed Institute exploring the interactions between hydrology, topography and soil properties. My project consisted of analyzing hydrologic data for the Stony Brook-Millstone watershed; soil samples collected at The Watershed Institute; and 3D digital reconstructions of a field experiment conducted on-site. I continued the work of 2020 HMEI intern Maria Fleury by updating her characterization of local ecohydrology with data from the past year, and I expanded on the correlation between streamflow discharge and groundwater levels. I also assisted in implementing the field experiment, for which we collected soil samples from three locations — a topographic ridge, a valley and an intermediate location — to map the distribution of clay and other soil properties. At the ridge and valley, we constructed a cubic hole and mound and monitored them by taking photographs to create 3D reconstructions using the structure from motion (SfM) technique. I learned about hydrology, soil chemistry and clay formation, and landscape evolution. I am excited to continue working with the Porporato Research Group during the 2021-22 academic year.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate and Environmental Science


Porporato Research Group, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University- The Watershed Institute, Pennington, New Jersey


Amilcare Porporato, Thomas J. Wu ’94 Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the High Meadows Environmental Institute