Mr Michael Riley BA, BSc, MSc

Mr Michael Riley

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Hydrogeology

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Michael Riley’s research principal research interests are in groundwater flow and contaminant transport processes, particularly in the context of fractured rock hydrogeology.


BA          Philosophy, University of Reading
BSc         Mathematics, London University
MSc       Engineering Hydrology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne


MSc Hydrogeology 

  • Groundwater Hydraulics (groundwater flow and transport theory, and pumping test interpretation)
  • Surface Water Interactions (including modelling with Visual Basic for Applications)
  • Borehole Design, Construction & Maintenance
  • Groundwater Exploitation and Management (fractured rock hydrogeology; saline groundwater; and heat transport in groundwater
  • Mathematics for Hydrogeologists


Main research interests

Michael Riley has a long-standing interest in groundwater flow and transport processes and associated field testing, particularly in the context of fractured rock hydrogeology.  His specialism is mathematical and numerical modelling. 

Recently, interest in transport has focused on particulates, including viruses, bacteria (in the context of radioactive waste disposal), and manufactured nanoparticles.  

Work on field methods and measurement has covered the use of microbially induced calcite precipitation to reduce the permeability of fractured rock; tests for hydraulic connectivity between boreholes in fractured rock; monitoring groundwater flow in soft sediments with heat pulse techniques; and groundwater tracer test monitoring and interpretation. 

Involvement in funded research projects since 2007




The black box opened:  Non-invasive observation of nanoparticle transport in rock pore systems

2013 - 2016


Nanoparticle interactions in groundwaters

2011 - 2014


Biogeochemical Applications in Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Disposal (BANDD)

2009 - 2013


Sustainable Urban Water Management (SWITCH) – the subsurface migration of viruses

2006 - 2011

European Union

Manufactured nanoparticle migration in aquifers

2007 - 2008



Principal  Publications since 2007

Greswell, R. B., Durand, V., Aller, M. F., Riley, M. S. and Tellam, J. H.  (2014)  A method for conducting simultaneous convergent tracer tests in multilayered aquifers.  Groundwater, doi:101111/gwat.12101.

Cuthbert, M. O., McMillan, L. A., Handley-Sidhu, S., Riley, M. S., Tobler, D. J. and Phoenix, V. R.  (2013)  A field and modelling study of fractured rock permeability reduction using microbially induced calcite precipitation.  Environmental Science & Technology,

Cuthbert, M. O., Riley, M. S., Handley-Sidhu, S., Renshaw, J. C., Tobler, D. J., Phoenix, V. R. and  Mackay, R.  (2012)  Controls on the rate of ureolysis and the morphology of carbonate precipitated by S. Pasteurii biofilms and limits due to bacterial encapsulation.  Ecological Engineering, 41, 32 – 40, doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.01.008.

Riley, M. S., Tellam, J. H., Greswell, R. B., Durand, V. and Aller M. F.  (2011)  Convergent tracer tests in multilayered aquifers:  The importance of vertical flow in the injection borehole, Water Resources Research, 47, W07501, doi:10.1029/2010WR009838.

Tobler, D. J., Cuthbert, M. O., Greswell, R. B., Riley, M. S., Renshaw, J. C., Handley-Sidhu, S. and Phoenix, V. R.  (2011)  Comparison of rates of ureolysis between Sporosarcina pasteurii and an indigenous groundwater community under conditions required to precipitate large volumes of calcite.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2011.03.023.

Furlong, B. V., Riley, M. S., Herbert, A. W., Ingram, J. A., Mackay, R. and Tellam, J. H.  (2011)  Using regional groundwater flow models for prediction of regional wellwater quality distributions.  Journal of Hydrology, 398(1-2), 11 – 16, doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.11.022.

Greswell, R. B., Riley, M. S., Fernandes Alves, P. and Tellam, J. H.  (2009)  A heat perturbation flow meter for application in soft sediments.  Journal of Hydrology.  doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.02.054

Blum, P., Mackay, R. and Riley, M. S.  (2009)  Stochastic simulations of regional scale advective transport in fractured rock masses using block upscaled hydro-mechanical rock property data.  Journal of Hydrology, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.02.009.

Haacke, R. R., Westbrook, G. K. and Riley, M. S.  (2008)  Controls on the formation and stability of gas hydrate-related bottom-simulating reflectors (BSRs):  A case study from the west Svalbard continental slope.  Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, B05104, doi:  10.1029/2007JB005200.

Le Borgne, T., Bour, O., Riley, M. S., Gouze, P., Belgouhl, A., Lods, G., Le Provost, R., Greswell, R. B., Ellis, P. A., Isakov, E., Last, B. J. and Pezard, P.  (2007)  Comparison of alternative methodologies for identifying and characterizing preferential flow paths in heterogeneous aquifers.  Journal of Hydrology, 345(3-4), 134 – 148.

Hitchmough, A. M., Riley, M. S., Herbert, A. W. and Tellam, J. H.  (2007)  Estimating the hydraulic properties of the fracture network in a sandstone aquifer.  Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 93, 38 – 57.

Blum, P., Mackay, R., Riley, M. S. and Knight, J. L.  (2007)  Hydraulische Modellierung und die Ermittlung des repräsentativen Elementarvolumens (REV) im Kluftgestein.  Grundwasser, 12, 48 – 65.

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