Indiana University Bloomington

Sally L. Letsinger

Sally L. Letsinger

Research Hydrogeologist, Indiana Geological Survey

Hydrogeology, Geographic Information Systems, and Remote Sensing

Office:   S427
Phone:   812-855-1356

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., 2001, Indiana University
  • M.S., 1994, University of Idaho
  • B.S., 1990, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis

Research Interests

Watershed hydrology, especially in areas of complex terrain

Geomorphologic and landform characteristics using terrain analysis techniques

Modeling the land-surface energy balance for determination of the spatial distribution and timing of snowmelt runoff

GIS and remote sensing as tools for geospatial data analysis applied to geologic problems at all scales

Using numerical methods to solve geologic and hydrogeologic problems

Scientific visualization

Courses Taught

  • GEOL G424/G584, Geological Applications of GIS

Recent Research Projects

Water-Quality Data Compilation and Analysis for the Coastal Nonpoint Source Management Plan (IDEM Clean Water Act, Section 319 Program)

Conversion of Historical Data to GIS Format for Grand Calumet Feasibility Study (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Hydrologic modeling to evaluate E. coli loading in the Dunes Creek Watershed,Porter County, Indiana (Save the Dunes Conservation Fund)

Indiana Reach Index: Update of National Hydrography Dataset (IDEM Clean Water Act, Section 104(b)(3) Program)

Evaluation of Riparian Buffer Zones using GIS and Remote Sensing to Target Watershed Restoration Efforts (IDEM Clean Water Act, Section 319 Program);

GIS-Based Hydrologic Modeling of Watersheds that Drain into Lake Michigan: Examples from the Watersheds of Trail Creek and the East Little Calumet River (IDEM, Great Lakes Initiative Program);

Source Water Assessments at the Indiana Geological Survey (Phase 1 and 2; IDEM);

An Evaluation of the Storage and Movement of Potential Contaminants in Soils at a Confined Feeding Operation (IDEM Clean Water Act, Section 104(b)(3) Program);

Representative Publications

Letsinger, S.L., and Olyphant, G.A., 2005, GIS-Based hydrologic modeling for prioritizing riparian buffer restoration areas, Young’s Creek Watershed, Johnson County, Indiana, American Water Resources Association annual meeting, Seattle, November 7-11, 2005.

Letsinger, S.L., and Olyphant, G.A., 2004, GIS-based hydrologic modeling for riparian buffer management, Young’s Creek Watershed, Johnson County, Indiana: AWRA Summer Specialty Conference Proceedings, Olympic Valley, California, June 28-30, 2004.

Letsinger, S.L., and Olyphant, G.A., 2003, Development of a method to assess riparian vegetated buffer zones using GIS and remote sensing in Young’s Creek watershed, Johnson County, Indiana: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 35, no. 6, September 2003, p. 78.

Letsinger, S.L., and Olyphant, G.A., 2001, Assessing the heterogeneity of snow-water equivalent during the snowmelt season: Spatial variability and its controlling factors in an alpine setting: EOS Trans. American Geophysical Union, v. 82, no. 47, Fall Meeting Supplement., Abstract IP51A-0737.

Letsinger, S.L., 2001, Simulating the evolution of seasonal snowcover and snowmelt runoff using a distributed energy balance model: Application to an alpine watershed in the Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana: Ph.D. dissertation, Sept. 2001, Indiana University Department of Geological Sciences, Bloomington, Indiana, 216 p. [dissertation]

Douglas, B.J., Letsinger, S.L., and Olyphant, G.A., 1996, Manual for Field Study of Geology of the Northern Rocky Mountains: Environmental Supplement, Indiana University Department of Geological Sciences Publication, 61 p.


I am the Director of the Indiana University Center for Geospatial Data Analysis. This research center is a collaborative group of geoscientists (faculty, staff, and students) from the IU Department of Geological Sciences and Indiana Geological Survey. We focus primarily on hydrological, environmental, and natural resource problems using geographic information systems as an analytical and visualization tool.