Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer content

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Dr. John Suen
C. John Suen
Sc.D., MIT, 1978

Professor Emeritus
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
California State University, Fresno
2576 E. San Ramon Avenue, Mail Stop ST-24
Fresno, CA 93740

Tel.  (559) 278-7888
Fax. (559) 278-5980

Office: Science II 270

Dr. John Suen named to EPA expert panel (2008)

Dr. John Suen selected as GSA (Geological Society of America) fellow (2009)
In this photo, he is congratulated by Dr. Jean Bahr, President of the Geological Society of America, for the Society’s Fellowship at the 2009 Annual Meeting Award Ceremony in Portland, Oregon

Dr. John Suen is a Professor of Geology at California State University, Fresno and Chief of Hydrogeology Studies at the California Water Institute. He has served as Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and founding Program Coordinator of the University of California at Riverside - CSU Fresno Joint B.S. Degree Program in Environmental Sciences. He received a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors from McGill University in Canada, a Doctor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining the faculty of CSU Fresno, he also served as adjunct faculty at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and California State University, Hayward. Dr. Suen was a (full) Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, where he worked as a scientific consultant for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Low-Level Waste Source Term Project, developing hydrogeologic models for calculation of radioisotope transport in the subsurface. He has published extensively in this field. He was also on the research staff of Gulf Oil Canada and Sohio Petroleum Co. (now BP America), where he worked on heavy/enhanced oil recovery. Dr. Suen’s current research projects include the study of contaminant hydrology in the Central Valley of California, and hydrology of fractured rocks. Currently, his research interest focuses on the application of isotopic data in hydrology, such as studying nitrate contamination in groundwater using nitrogen and oxygen isotopes as a source indicator in agricultural environments. He recently has conducted research projects for the Regional Water Quality Control Board (Region 5) and the Department of Pesticide Regulation of the California EPA, and is developing a fracture hydrology project with the Sierra Resource Conservation District. In past years, Dr. Suen has also served on a number of advisory capacities, including serving as a member of the US EPA Science Advisory Board review panel for “Report on the Environment, 2007”, on the expert ground water panel for the cities of San Francisco and Daly City, on the board of directors for the Bay Institute of San Francisco, on the Commission on the Urban Agenda of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), on the Kings River Groundwater Basin Committee of the State Regional Water Quality Control Board, and on the Curriculum Advisory Panel of the College of Sequoia. He is currently serving on the Central Valley Salinity Technical Advisory Committee, Salinity Sources Subcommittee (CV-SALTS) of the Regional Water Board. Dr. Suen has 63 publications including articles in various journals, conference proceedings, and official U.S. Government reports. Dr. Suen is a member the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, Sigma Xi, the National Ground Water Association, and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. He is also a Professional Geologist registered in California.

Dr. Suen teaches Groundwater Hydrology, Special Topics in Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology, Graduate seminar in Geology (graduate), Hydrogeology, Physical Geology, Physical Geology Lab, Quantitative Methods in Earth Science (undergraduate). He was the Geology Graduate Program Coordinator (91-94; 00) and has been advising graduate students and administering Geology graduate degree program. He is also the Coordinator of the Joint BS Degree Program in Environmental Sciences between University of California at Riverside and California State University, Fresno. The Joint Degree program has started recruiting students for the Fall Semester of 2003.

Since receiving Sc.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr.Suen has conducted various researches for many agencies: University of California-San Diego, MIT, Gulf Oil Canada Ltd., Sohio Petroleum Company, Cal State University-Hayward, State University of New York-Stony Brook,  Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, NY,  U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (Low-Level Waste Source Term Project), Brookhaven National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and DOE. He is experienced in developing hydrogeologic models for simulating radionuclide releases from shallow-land burial trenches, and has published extensively in this field. Currently, his research interest focuses on nitrate contamination in groundwater, particularly the application of stable isotopes in source identification of groundwater contaminant (using nitrogen and oxygen isotopes as a source indicator) in agricultural environments in the San Joaquin Valley.


Suen, C. John, et al. 1996. A coupled Reactive-Transport Groundwater Computer Code for Environmental Applications. 30th International Geological Congress, Beijing, China, 4 - 14 August, 1996, Abstract, Vol.3, p.243.

Jiang, X., Suen, C.J., Beans, D.M. and Ross, P.P. 1995.  Groundwater Flow and Transport Model for the Pinedale Contamination Site in California, American Geophysical Union, Trans., v. 76, No. 46, Suppl., p. F188.

MacKinnon, R.J., Sullivan, T.M., Suen, C.J.  and  Simonson, S.A. 1995. BLT-EC (Breach, Leach, Transport, and Equilibrium Chemistry), a Finite-Element Model for Assessing the Release of Radionuclides from Low-Level Waste Disposal Units: Background, Theory, and Model Description. Brookhaven National Laboratory Report BNL-NUREG-52446   , U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Comm. NUREG/CR-6305 , 143 pp.

Suen, C.J. and Sullivan, T.M. 1993. Sensitivity analysis and benchmarking of the BLT low-level waste source term code. Brookhaven Ntl Lab Report BNL-NUREG-52346, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Comm. NUREG/CR-5943, 66 pp.

Suen, C. John and Sullivan, Terrence M. 1992. A source term computer model for predicting the release rate of radionuclides from a low-level nuclear waste shallow land burial facility.  29th International Geological Congress, Kyoto, Japan, 24 Aug.- 3 Sept., 1992, Abstracts, Vol.3, p.920.

Sullivan, T.M. and Suen, C.J. 1991. Low-level waste source term model development and testing. Brookhaven National Laboratory Report BNL-NUREG-52280, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Comm. NUREG/CR-5681, 86 pp.

Sullivan, T.M. and Suen, C.J. 1989. Low-level waste shallow land disposal source term model: Data input guide. Brookhaven National Lab. Report BNL-NUREG-52206, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Comm. NUREG/CR-5387, 323 pp.

Suen, C.J. 1988. Modeling the flow of water in and around shallow burial trenches. Waste Management '88, Vol. 1, p.811   820.

Hoppe, K.W. and Suen, C.J. 1991. Groundwater model of the western part of the Kern River alluvial fan, southern San Joaquin Valley, California. American Geophysical Union, Trans., v.72, No.44, p.176.

Suen, C.J.; Sutton, S.R.; Rivers, M.L.; Jones, K.W.; Chou, C.-L. and Kuellmer, F.J. 1989. Trace element geochemistry of coal from the Illinois and San Juan Basins using the synchrotron x-ray fluorescence microprobe. Am. Geophys. Union, Trans., v.70, No.15, p.492.

Suen, C.J. and Frey, F.A. 1987.  Origins of the mafic and ultramafic rocks in the Ronda Peridotite Massif. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v.85, p.183   202.

Frey, F.A., Suen, C.J. and Stockman, H.W. 1985.  The Ronda High Temperature Peridotite: Geochemistry and Petrogenesis. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, v.49, p.2469   2491.

Suen, C.J., Frey, F.A. and Malpas, J. 1979. Bay of Islands ophiolite suite, Newfoundland: Petrologic and geochemical characteristics with emphasis on rare earth element geochemistry. Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett. v.45, p.337 – 348.

Extended research publication list