Sally Letsinger

Sally Letsinger

Senior Research Scientist, Geography


  • Ph.D., Indiana University, 2001


  • Watershed hydrology, especially in areas of complex terrain
  • 3-D groundwater modeling
  • GIS and remote sensing as tools for spatial data analysis
  • Numerical methods to solve geologic and hydrogeologic problems
  • Land-surface energy balance modeling
  • Hydrologic implications of a changing climate
  • Water infrastructure, water sustainability
  • Soil moisture, vapor-intrusion studies

About Sally Letsinger

Sally Letsinger is a hydrogeologist with over 30 years of experience in applying an interdisciplinary background and analytical skills to a wide range of natural-resource issues. She has served as principal investigator on many projects in  areas using coupled GIS and numerical or statistical modeling (both groundwater and surface water) to guide prioritization of best management practices; recharge-discharge area mapping; and determination of wetland hydrologic function for restoration or mitigation banking. Recent projects have involved natural hazard risk analysis applied to topics as diverse as aquifer sensitivity to contamination, sinkhole development, and fault-slip. The effect of the composition of source water distributed through drinking water distribution systems, water infrastructure, and water sustainability under climate change are new areas of inquiry.


  • Rupp, J.A., Letsinger, S.L., and Carlson, G., 2018, Fault angle control on potential seismic slip in the Illinois Basin region: Seismological Research Letters, doi: 10.1785/0220180153.
  • Medina, C.R., Letsinger, S.L., and Olyphant, G.A., 2017, Hydrogeologic modeling of an area subjected to detailed geologic mapping in three dimensions: Do the details really matter? In, Kehew, A.E., and Curry, B. B., eds., Quaternary Glaciation of the Great Lakes Region: Process, Landforms, Sediments, and Chronology: Geological Society of America Special Paper 530, doi: 10.1130/2017.2530(11).
  • David, S.R., Edmonds, D.A., and Letsinger, S.L., 2016, Controls on the occurrence and prevalence of floodplain channels in meandering rivers: Earth Surface Landforms and Processes, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 460–472, doi:10.1002/esp.4002.
  • Berg, R.C., Brown, S.E., Thomason, J.F., Hasenmueller, N.R., Letsinger, S.L., Kincare, K.A., Esch, J.M., Kehew, A.E., Thorleifson, L.H., Kozlowski, A.L., Bird, B.C., Pavey, R.R., Bajc, A.F., Burt, A.K., Fleeger, G.M., and Carson, E.C., 2016, A multiagency and multijurisdictional approach to mapping the glacial deposits of the Great Lakes region in three dimensions: in Wessel, G.R., and Greenberg, J.K., eds., Geoscience for the Public Good and Global Development: Toward a Sustainable Future: Geological Society of America Special Paper 520.
  • Naylor, S., Letsinger, S.L., Ficklin, D.L., Ellett, K.M., and Olyphant, G.A, 2016, A hydropedological approach to quantifying groundwater recharge in various glacial settings of the mid-continental U.S.A.: Hydrological Processes, v. 30, p. 1594-1608. doi: 10.1002/hyp.10718.
  • Ficklin, D.L., Letsinger, S.L., Stewart, I.T., and Maurer, E.P., 2016, Assessing differences in snowmelt-dependent hydrologic projections using CMIP3 and CMIP5 climate forcing data for the western United States: Hydrology Research, v. 47, no. 2, p. 483-500. doi:10.2166/nh.2015.101.
  • Letsinger, S.L., 2015, Map of Indiana showing near-surface aquifer sensitivity: Indiana Geological Survey Miscellaneous Map MM-93.
  • Letsinger, S.L., 2015, Map of Indiana showing near-surface aquifer recharge: Indiana Geological Survey Miscellaneous Map MM-92.
  • Letsinger, S.L., 2015, Map showing sinkhole development risk in south-central Indiana and north-central Kentucky: Indiana Geological Survey Miscellaneous Map MM-91.
  • Ficklin, D.L., Letsinger, S.L., Gholizadeh, H., and Maxwell, J., 2015, Incorporation of the Penman-Monteith potential evapotranspiration method into a Palmer Drought Severity Index tool: Computers and Geosciences, v. 85, p. 136-141. doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2015.09.013.
  • Ficklin, D.L., Maxwell, J.T., Letsinger, S.L., and Gholizadeh, H., 2015, A climatic deconstruction of recent drought trends in the United States: Environmental Research Letters, v. 10, no. 4, 044009. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/4/044009.
  • Letsinger, S.L., and Olyphant, G.A., 2007, Distributed energy balance modeling of snow cover evolution and melt in rugged terrain: Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana, USA: Journal of Hydrology, v.336, no. 1-2, pp. 48-60. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2006.12.012.