Thomas research interests focus on mine closure and exploring site specific solutions for the construction of safe, stable, sustainable and non-polluting landforms.

In his research, Thomas investigates soil hydrological and soil mechanical processes and their effect on the environmental performance of rebuilt landforms including constructed covers over waste rock or tailings storage facilities. This includes designing and setting up test sites and monitoring critical water balance parameters like deep drainage, runoff, evaporation and water storage (plant growth). Data interpretation and numerical modelling under various climatic conditions are applied for the assessment of the performance for the purpose of mine closure. 

Cross-discipline, Thomas collaborates in studies on geochemical properties and ageing behaviour of substrates like land covers from soil, waste rock, tailings, for the purpose to predict their hydrological and geochemical evolution and the future trajectory of response within their environment and to inform about their level of risk to successful mine closure.

Thomas has a degree in Geo-ecology from the University of Bayreuth, Germany with a specialisation in soil physics and soil hydrology.
He holds a PhD from the University of Bayreuth, Germany and a Venia Legendi at the University of Kiel, Germany.
Thomas is a Fellow of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation.
He is member of the Australian, German and International Soil Science Societies, of AusIMM, 
Thomas has published over 60 peer-refereed papers in international journals; he is associate editor and member of editorial boards of international journals. 
He has been organiser and presenter of workshops to industry and government on mine rehabilitation and mine closure in Australia and overseas and organiser of symposia at international conferences related to mine rehabilitation and land restoration of degraded land.
Thomas is Certified Professional Soil Scientist of Soil Science Australia Inc.

Industry

Thomas engages with industry across scales from small to large mining companies, consultancies and government. His engagement with the mining industry is on a national and international level

Collaborations

Thomas has interdisciplinary collaborations with Universities and research organisations (e.g. South America (Chile, Peru), European countries (Germany, Finland, France, UK, Austria), North America (Canada) and China. At a University level he collaborates with colleagues through co-supervision or in an advisory role of RhD students across various disciplines.

Key Publications

Baumgartl, T., 1998. Physical soil properties in specific fields of application especially in anthropogenic soils. Soil and Tillage Research 47, 51–59. doi:10.1016/S0167-1987(98)00072-5

Baumgartl, T., Köck, B., 2004. Modelling Volume Change and Mechanical Properties with Hydraulic Models. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 68, 57–65.

Schneider, A., Baumgartl, T., Doley, D., Mulligan, D., 2010. Evaluation of the Heterogeneity of Constructed Landforms for Rehabilitation Using Lysimeters. Vadose Zone Journal 9, 898–909. doi:10.2136/vzj2009.0172

Shao, Q., Weatherley, D., Huang, L., Baumgartl, T., 2015. RunCA: A cellular automata model for simulating surface runoff at different scales. Journal of Hydrology 529, 816–829. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.09.003

Baumgartl, T., Richards B.G., 2016. Rainfall Patterns Rather than Climate Classification Control Cover Design for Closure, in: Proceedings Life of Mine Conference Brisbane QLD 28-30 Sept 2016, pp. 89–92.

Funding

Thomas has been involved in more than 30 projects amounting to a total volume of in average AUD 1,000,000 per year over the last decade and was CI of projects in this period of time amounting to in average AUD 450,000 per year.