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Miriam Rios-Sanchez

Dr. Miriam Rios-Sanchez Associate Professor of Geology


I started working at Bemidji State University in 2013 where I am faculty in the Center for Sustainability Studies, which houses the Geology Department. I have been also the academic mentor and advisor to the Trio/McNair Scholar Program and the site coordinator of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (Louis Stokes North Star STEM Alliance in Minnesota).

I am originally from Colombia. I have a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Caldas in Colombia. I have a Master’s degree in Hydrology and Water Resources from the IHE-UNESCO Water Institute in The Netherlands. I also hold a PhD in Geological Engineering (focused on Hydrogeology) from Michigan Technological University, in Houghton, Michigan.

Over the past 15 year, I have taught classes related to several Geological areas including: Groundwater Resources, Hydrology, and Interpretation and Use of Satellite Images for Environmental and Geological Studies.

I worked as hydrogeologist for more than 10 years at the Colombian Geological Survey. I have experience doing research on the application of remote sensing and digital elevation model techniques for geological sciences, studies related to regional groundwater exploration, aquifer evaluation and management, and the use of geophysics for shallow aquifer characterization.

I am also a strong advocate for finding opportunities to serve underrepresented students and I have a passion for mentoring.

Although my academic life has been centered in the US in the last decade, I keep close contact with my colleagues back in Colombia. I have given workshops, training sessions, I participate in conferences, and I mentor masters and undergrad students pursuing degrees at Colombian Universities.

My hobbies are: drinking coffee, working out, hiking, biking and especially photography. I am a nature lover and enjoy documenting with my photos the changes in the seasons, bird migrations, northern lights, and discovering the beauty in the small things.


B.S. Geologist (1996)- University of Caldas (Manizales, Colombia),

Masters in Hydrology and Water Resources (2001), UNESCO –IHE Water Institute (Delft, the Netherlands),.

Ph.D. Geological Engineering (2012). Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan


  • Hydrogeology
  • Environmental Hydrology
  • Environmental Geology
  • Sedimentology
  • Mineralogy and Petrology
  • Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing
  • Geostatistics
  • Principles of climatology
  • People and the Environment
  • Interdisciplinary Research Methods
  • Effective Presentation of Research Results

Research Interests

Applications of remote sensing and digital elevation model techniques for geological sciences, regional groundwater exploration, aquifer evaluation and management (geological mapping, tectonics, flow system delineation, assessment of subsidence and other impacts) and natural hazards. Influence of groundwater in natural hazards such as flooding, landslides and volcanic activity. Shallow geophysics for aquifer characterization.

Recent Work


Understanding hydrology-driven transient geophysical signatures associated with biogeochemical alterations in a mature hydrocarbon-contaminated aquifer”. NSF. Rutgers University, USGS, Bemidji State University. Ongoing

Remote Sensing for Hazard Mitigation and Natural Resources Protection in Pacific Latin America NSF-PIRE 0530109. Michigan Technological University, 2006-2012

Assessment of Natural hazards and Groundwater Resources for the La Miel River Watershed. University of Caldas, 2004-2006

National Hydrogeological Atlas of Colombia 1.500.000(Regions 5-01, 5-02, 5-03, 5-04 and 5-09). 1997-2004

Hydrogeological Map of the Sucre State (1:250.000). 2000-2002

Hydrogeological Map of the Cordoba State (1:250.000) .2000-2002

Groundwater Exploration of the Urabá Region, Colombia. 1994-1996


Scientific Expert, Special Service. United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). June, 2010

Project manager. Department of Geology, University of Caldas, Manizales, Colombia. December 2004 – August 2006

Head of the Groundwater Division. Colombian Geological Survey, SGC. Bogotá, Colombia. July, 1999 – September, 2000 and November 2001 – January 04

Hydrogeologist. Hydrogeology Division. INGEOMINAS (Colombian Geological Survey), Bogota, Colombia. September, 1993 – June, 1999