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Aug 2010Present


Louisiana State University

Completing final requirements for PhD dissertation that focuses on relationship of surface weathering processes to the carbon cycle.

Aug 1999May 2007

Master of Science

Eastern Kentucky University

Completed a Master's in geology with an emphasis on karst hydrology.  Earned a 3.75 GPA while working a full-time job.

Jan 1984Dec 1988

Bachelor of Science

Work experience

Aug 2010Present

Research Assistant

Louisiana State University

Current study as a PhD candidate and Research Assistant at LSU includes detailed and extensive field and laboratory work to determine fluxes of inorganic carbon in dissolved, suspended and bed loads of drainage systems. Work and study also includes flood analysis and sediment transport of mountain streams, geophysical investigations, watershed runoff analysis and modeling, advanced surface and groundwater hydraulics, advanced aqueous geochemistry, geomicrobiology and use of isotopes as sediment tracers.

Mar 2000Dec 2009

Karst Hydrogeologist

Kentucky Geological Survey

Coordinated and conducted hydrogeologic and hazard investigations throughout the state. Conducted field inventories to locate, identify and catalog springs and karst features. Performed extensive groundwater tracing utilizing numerous fluorescent dyes. Installed, utilized and maintained hydrologic equipment for measuring spring and stream flow and analyzing surface water and groundwater quality. Equipment used or installed included survey grade GPS, ISCO automatic water samplers, Marsh-McBirney and Gurly velocity meters, Doppler acoustic flow meters, constructed weirs, staff gauges, Druck water level recorders, Horiba and YSI water quality meters, down hole cameras, and various pumps and well-testing gauges. Analyzed stream and spring hydrographs to determine surface and groundwater flow parameters. Developed discharge rating curves for newly installed gauging sites. Assisted in installing, developing and monitoring groundwater wells. Collected water samples for lab analysis of many different constituents and contaminants. Investigated sinkhole collapse problems and structural hazards related to sinkholes. Mapped caves and conducted geophysical surveys integrated with GIS mapping to pinpoint structural issues or to locate potential drilling sites for monitoring wells. Geophysical methods used in the field included multi-channel resistivity, conductivity, microgravity, shallow seismic, and ground penetrating radar. Created and maintained relational databases of statewide karst and hydrologic features using GIS. Used ArcGIS and Arcview extensively to produce finished maps and data products that interpret research findings for the public or contracting agencies.

Dec 1997Mar 2000

Environmental Geologist

Law Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc.

Conducted Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, including underground storage tank removals and remediation.  Oversaw core and well drilling for various geotechnical and groundwater investigations.  Assisted with geotechnical projects including soil and roadbed compaction analysis and lab testing of soil samples. Wrote detailed technical reports and utilized GIS and AutoCad to analyze sites and produce maps.

May 1995Dec 1997

Associate Geologist

Stagg Resource Consultants, Inc.

Conducted research and field investigations for a variety of mining and environmental projects. Performed mineral resource assessments and provided mining recommendations. Conducted Phase I environmental site assessments, including mine hazard evaluations. Coordinated field crews to map mineral locations. Correlated and interpreted geology from geophysical and core logs. Produced resource recovery models and mine plans using advanced computer modeling software with ArcView GIS and AutoCad. Supported development of a new commercial mine planning software.

Jul 1994May 1995


Crawford & Associates, Inc.

Performed a variety of part-time work as an independent consultant assisting in karst hydrogeology projects.  Implemented hydrogeologic inventories to identify and evaluate karst features.  Conducted numerous dye traces with an assortment of dyes and equipment.  Assisted in drilling injection and monitoring wells.  Surveyed and leveled wells and springs for water table contouring.  Utilized ground penetrating rader units to analyze subsurface conditions and hazards.  Analyzed dye receptors and water samples with a spectrofluorometer.  Constructed and monitored pressure transducer stream gages, and installed and maintainted automatic water samplers.  Measured spring discharges, performed slug tests and mapped geology for aquifer analysis.  Worked in cooperation with local, state and federal agencies, and with a number of private consulting firms.

Jan 1992Apr 1994

GIS Specialist and hydrology field technician

United States Geological Survey, Water Resources Division

Provided ArcGIS analysis and other computer and mapping support for numerous projects, including the Potomac National Water Quality Assessment. Managed analysis portion of the Aberdeen Proving Ground thermal imaging project that utilized the multispectral TIMS instrument to remotely delineate groundwater discharge. Used MODFLOW to test groundwater discharge hypotheses derived from imagery analysis. Taught GIS to student workers, and wrote technical papers and articles. Assisted in hydrologic field work that included stream sampling of fish and benthic invertebrates, water quality testing, stream gauging, stream gauge maintenance, and flood plain surveys.

Jun 1991Jan 1992

Physical Science Technician

United States Geological Survey, Eastern Mineral Resources Division

Developed relational databases, constructed maps, and provided hardware and software support for mineral resource assessments.  Learned skills in map drafting, UNIX network systems, and the mapping programs ArcINFO, GRASS and GS/MAP.

Jun 1990Apr 1991

Staff Geologist

ATEC Environmental, Inc.

Performed duties related to environmental cleanup and hazards on RCRA and Superfund sites.  Conducted Phase I and II environmental site assessments.  Wrote detailed environmental technical reports.  Maintained groundwater remediation systems for petroleum contamination.  Assisted in drilling monitoring wells to locate contaminant plumes. Measured and surveyed monitoring wells for water table delineation.  Supervised a crew of four to remove and remediate leaking underground storage tanks at multiple locations around the Mid-Atlantic.

Example Publications and Reports

Publications and Reports

Publications and Presentations

Paylor, R. L., Wicks, C. M., 2013, Particulate inorganic carbon flux in karst and its significance to karst development and the carbon cycle, Geological Society of America annual meeting, Denver, CO.Paylor, R. L., Wicks, C. M., 2013, Preliminary results: Particulate inorganic carbon flux in karst and its significance to karst development and the carbon cycle, Carbon and Boundaries in Karst conference, Karst Waters Institute Special Publication 17, Karst Waters Institute, Leesburg, Virginia. 54 p.Currens, J.C., Paylor, R.L., Beck, E.G., and Davidson, O.B., 2012, Results of a feasibility study to determine cover-collapse frequency in the western pennyroyal karst of Kentucky, Journal of Karst and Cave Studies, v. 74, no. 3, p. 292-299.Paylor, R. L., Wicks, C. M., 2011, Use of short half-life cosmogenic isotopes to quantify sediment mixing and transport in karst conduits, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2011, abstract #H21I-04.

Paylor, R. L., 2009, Exploration and survey of Sunnybrook Blowing Cave, Wayne County, Kentucky, Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Speleology, Kerville, Texas, p.467.

Currens, J.C., Paylor, R.L, 2009, Caves and karst of the Bluegrass region, Central Kentucky, in Caves and Karst of the USA, Palmer, A. and Palmer, M., eds., National Speleological Society, Huntsville, Alabama, 446 p.

Currens, J.C., Paylor, R.L., and Ray, J.A., 2009, Mapped karst ground-water basins in the Tell City 30 x 60 minute quadrangle: Kentucky Geological Survey: Series 12, Map and Chart Series 152, 1:100,000-scale.

Tripathi, G., Fryar, A. E., Paylor, R. L., and others, 2009, Use of integrated geophysical techniques to locate a karst conduit in the inner Bluegrass region of Kentucky, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 4, p. 15.

Dinger, J., Currens, J., Paylor, R., Fisher, S., Rister, B., 2008, Hydrogeologic investigations of pavement subsidence in the Cumberland Gap tunnel, Proceedings of the Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, Lexington, Kentucky, p. 35.

Paylor, R.L., Currens, J.C., Crawford, M. M., 2006, Karst Potential and Development Indices: Tools for Mapping Karst Hazard Regions Using GIS, Proceedings of the 5th annual technical forum of the Appalachian Transportation Institute: Geohazards in Transportation, Lexington, Kentucky.

Currens, J.C., Paylor, R.L., 2006, Delineation of Karst Groundwater Basins along the Proposed I-66 Corridor, Pulaski County, Kentucky, Proceedings of the 5th annual technical forum of the Appalachian Transportation Institute: Geohazards in Transportation, Lexington, Kentucky.

Carey, D.I., Overfield, B.L., and Paylor, R.L., 2006, Generalized geologic map for land-use planning: McCreary County, Kentucky, Series 12, Map and Chart Series 144, scale 1:63,360.

Carey, D.I., Overfield, B.L., and Paylor, R.L., 2006, Generalized geologic map for land-use planning: Whitley County, Kentucky, Series 12, Map and Chart Series 141, scale 1:63,360.

Currens, J.C., Crawford, M.M., Paylor, R.L, 2005, Karst Potential and Development Indices: Tools for Mapping Karst Using GIS, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Biloxi, Mississippi, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 48.

Currens, J.C., Paylor, R.L., 2004, Sinkholes and Karst Features of Chenoweth Run: Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District, Information Circular: Project XL, Louisville, Kentucky.

Paylor, R.L., Currens, J.C., 2004, Determining Groundwater Travel Times in the Royal Spring Karst Basin of Kentucky: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Denver, Colorado, Vol. 36, No. 5, p. 563.

Paylor, R.L., Florea, L., Caudill, M., and Currens, J.C., 2004, A GIS Coverage of Karst Sinkholes in Kentucky, Kentucky Geological Survey, Digital Publication Series 5, Number 12.

Currens, J.C., Paylor, R.L., and Ray, J.A., 2003, Mapped karst ground-water basins in the Harrodsburg 30 x 60 minute quadrangle: Kentucky Geological Survey: Series 12, Map and Chart Series 58, 1:100,000-scale.

Currens, J.C., Paylor, R.L., and Ray, J.A., 2002, Mapped karst ground-water basins in the Lexington 30 x 60 minute quadrangle: Kentucky Geological Survey: Series 12, Map and Chart Series 35, 1:100,000-scale.

Florea, L.J., Paylor, R.L., Simpson, L., and Gulley, J., 2002, Karst GIS advances in Kentucky: Journal of Cave and Karst Studies Special GIS Issue, Environmental Systems Research Institute, v. 63, p. 58-62.

Paylor, R.L, and Currens, J.C., 2001, Karst occurrence in Kentucky: Kentucky Geological Survey, Series 12, Map and Chart 33, 1:1,000,000-scale.

Paylor, R.L., Florea, L., 2001, The Kentucky Sinkhole Project. Development of a Statewide Sinkhole Map, 2001 National Speleological Society Convention Program Guide, (abstract) Howard Kalnitz, ed., p. 86.

Paylor, R.L., & Currens, J.C., 2001, Mapping karst ground-water basins in the inner bluegrass as a nonpoint-source pollution management tool, in Beck, B.F., Pettit, A.J., & Herring, J.G., ed., Proceedings of the 2001 sinkhole conference, Louisville, Kentucky, p. 229-234.

Paylor, R.L., Cole, J.L., & Simpson, L.S., 2001, Sloans Valley Cave System, in Braley, L., & Florea. L., ed., NSS convention 2001 guidebook, p. 216.

Banks, W.R, Paylor, R.L., 1996, Using thermal infrared imagery to delineate ground-water discharge, Ground Water, v. 34, no. 3, p. 434-443.

Cannon, W., Clark, S., Lesure, F., Hinkle, M., Paylor, R., and others, 1994, Mineral Resources of West VIrginia, 1:500,000 scale, 58" x 39",  U.S. Geological Survey, Miscellaneous Investigations Series MAP I-2364-A.

Ogden, A.E., Pride, T., Paylor, R.L., 1989, Assessing ground-water flow paths from pollution sources in the karst of Putnam County, Tennessee, Proceedings of the Third Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes, Florida. 

Related Education and Training

Additional coursework and training includes:

  • Remote sensing and multispectral image processing course taught by the U.S. Geological Survey
  • ESRI ArcGIS training courses
  • Karst Hydrology Course and Karst Geomorphology Course taught by the Center for Cave and Karst Studies at Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Various continuing education workshops related to geologic investigations, hydrology and computer mapping
  • National Cave Rescue Commission rescue training course


Computer software

ArcGIS suite including 3D Analyst and Spatial Analyst and Arc Hydro tools, MS Office, Grapher, MatLab, Aqtesolve, HEC-RAS, HEC-GeoRAS, BASINS, MODFLOW, PHREEQ-C aqueous geochemistry analysis, ELAS and ERDAS multispectral image analysis, current Adobe Suite including Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign.

Hydrologic and environmental field and laboratory equipment

ISCO automatic water samplers, pressure transducers, water quality meters (both portable and static) including YSI data sondes, field titration kits, flow meters (Marsh McBirney, Gurley, etc.), acoustic doppler velocity meters, staff gauges (installation and calibration), monitoring well installation (including direct-push method), variety of pumps for sampling, downhole video cameras, weir installation and calibration, survey grade GPS, remediation equipment installation and maintenance including air strippers, oil/water separators, chemical treatment units and filtration systems. Experience with variety of lab analysis equipment including IC, ICP, LGR water isotope analyzer, Canberra gamma spectrometers, and fluorescence spectrophotometers.

Geophysics equipment

Supersting 8 channel resistivity meter, spontaneous potential survey equipment, ground penetrating radar units, microgravity meters, conductivity survey units, and shallow seismic equipment.

Cave exploration and surveying

Expert at vertical and horizontal caving, cave mapping using advanced techniques, cave data reduction and mapping programs, in-cave environmental studies and sampling. Have served 6 years on the board of directors of the National Speleological Society.


Accomplished and award-winning outdoor photographer.