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9:00 am - BEG Friday Seminar Series

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: May 1, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: May 1, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Dr. Farzam Javadpour
Research Scientist
Bureau of Economic Geology

Nanoscience is the science of matter at nanoscale—for example one millimeter is equal to one million nanometer and the size of a methane molecule is 0.5 nanometer. We utilize nanoscience in two major research efforts related to reservoir engineering. First is the exploration of the fundamental physics of natural nanosystems, including unconventional shale gas reservoirs with pores as small as few nanometers; second is the use of engineered nanoparticles (10-100 nanometers) to improve reservoir characterization and enhanced recovery. Although these applications are different, the governing physics at nanoscale carry over between the two, and some experimental techniques can be used for both subfields. In this talk we highlight the nanoscale features of shale gas reservoirs and describe the experimental methods and mathematical/numerical models used to study such systems. We also summarize fundamental works in understanding the transport of nanoparticles in reservoirs. Advances, challenges, and future prospects will be presented.

10:30 am - UTIG Seminar Series: John (Mike) Wallace, University of Washington

UTIG Seminar Series: John (Mike) Wallace, University of Washington

  Start: May 1, 2015 at 10:30 am     End: May 1, 2015 at 11:30 am
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Yuko Okumura, Yukoo@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0383
 URL:Event Link
"Detecting Climate Change in the Presence of Natural Climate Variability"


In variables such as global mean temperature the signal of human-induced climate change stands out clearly above internal variability of the climate system that we refer to as “natural variability”. However, when we consider climate change over a limited region such as Texas, the presence of natural variability makes it difficult to see the human-induced signal clearly over the time span of a human lifetime. The one notable exception is the tropics, where the internal variability is very small and humans and ecosystems have adapted to living within a very narrow temperature range. The difficulty of detecting climate change is compounded when the focus is on short-lived extreme events such as heat waves. To appreciate the gravity of the current global environmental crisis one needs to look beyond climate change. The current California drought provides an example.

9:00 am - Career Center Open House

Career Center Open House

  Start: May 4, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: May 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm
 Location:JGB 2.112 Martineau Career Services Suite
 Contact:Chelsea Ochoa, chelsea.ochoa@jsg.utexas.edu, 5122320893
JSG students, faculty and staff are invited to come by the Career Center for coffee and bagels.

12:00 pm - Soft Rock Seminar - Sarah Brothers

Soft Rock Seminar - Sarah Brothers

  Start: May 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm     End: May 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm
 Location:JGB 3.222

4:00 pm - Tech Sessions Speaker Series: PhD Talk

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: PhD Talk

  Start: May 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm     End: May 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm

4:00 pm - Eagle Ford Revisited: a field trip in San Antonio

Eagle Ford Revisited: a field trip in San Antonio

  Start: May 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm     End: May 6, 2015 at 8:00 pm
 Location:meet at Capparelli's Parking lot - 15901 FM 3009 in San Antonio
 Contact:Kristen Tucek, ktucek@jsg.utexas.edu, 512-471-2223

5:30 pm - GLOW Evening of Science and Leadership Banquet

GLOW Evening of Science and Leadership Banquet

  Start: May 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm     End: May 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm
 Location:UT Austin, Texas Union Building Santa Rita Suite (UNB 3.502)
 Contact:Emilie Gentry, emilie.gentry@utexas.edu
 URL:Event Link
The Geoscience Leadership Organization for Women (GLOW), a student organization in the Jackson School of Geosciences, would like to invite JSG friends and alumni to our GLOW Evening of Science and Leadership Banquet. As an effort to promote the involvement of women in geosciences, we would like to bring geoscientists together to enhance this professional community. GLOW's membership ties the class gap between undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in the Jackson School. We encourage and look forward to interacting with geoscientists of a variety of careers.

10:30 am - UTIG Graduate Student Presentations

UTIG Graduate Student Presentations

  Start: May 8, 2015 at 10:30 am     End: May 8, 2015 at 11:30 am
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Larry Lawver/Terry Quinn, lawver@ig.utexas.edu/quinn@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0433 /512-47
 URL:Event Link
"The Dispersal of East Gondwana from Breakup to the Start of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron" (Bud Davis)


Existing plate models for the breakup of Africa and East Gondwana (Australia, East Antarctica, India, Madagascar, the Seychelles, and Sri Lanka) are problematic and require revision. Specific problems include the utilization of dubious Gondwana configurations, improbable plate motion, and/or a failure to satisfy the holistic marine magnetic anomaly data. I present here a new model for the breakup of East Gondwana. This new model begins from a constrained, pre-breakup, Gondwana configuration. Out of this initial “tight-fit” configuration, East Gondwana rifts from West Gondwana (Africa & South America) as a cohesive unit. During this breakup and subsequent seafloor spreading, East Gondwana is devoid of any internal compression or anomalous plate motion. The overall motion of East Gondwana is constrained by seafloor spreading in the coeval Somali Basin and Mozambique/Riiser Larsen Basins. Seafloor spreading in these basins is modeled using existing marine magnetic anomaly interpretations and satellite-derived gravity data. Our model is uniquely able to satisfy the magnetic anomaly observations in both of the aforementioned basins without invoking improbable plate motion or configurations. Additionally, this plate model provides insight about the formation of two previously enigmatic systems, the hydrocarbon-rich Davie Ridge offshore East Africa, and the tectonically contentious Enderby Basin offshore East Antarctica. Predictions from our plate model agree well with geophysical observations from both regions and can greatly aid our future work understanding the evolution of regional scale continental rift systems.

“Little Ice Age Links between Atlantic Ocean Dynamics and Hydroclimate” (Kaustubh Thirumalai)


The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is an integral component of tropical-to-extratropical heat transfer in the Western Hemisphere. Sea-surface temperature (SST) and sea-surface salinity (SSS) in the GOM strongly influence the moisture budget of North America. Oceanographically, the GOM is dynamically complex owing to the Loop Current, a surface current that transports 23 Sv (1 Sv = 106 m3s-1) of warm Caribbean waters through the Yucatan Strait into the GOM and ultimately flows out of the Florida Straits as a precursor to the Gulf Stream. The signature of the Loop Current is manifest as SST and SSS anomalies in the northern and western GOM through eddies. The brief length of the observational record however, limits us from knowledge of long-term (century-scale) variability in GOM oceanography. Understanding variability of GOM SSTs and SSS on these timescales is crucial in understanding North American hydroclimate variability and equally importantly, can give us key insights into Atlantic Ocean dynamics. Here, using a suite of well-dated sediment cores collected from the Garrison Basin, GOM, we reconstruct local SST and SSS variability during the late Holocene by employing planktic foraminiferal geochemistry. I will make a case in this talk that the reconstructed temperature and salinity variations at Garrison Basin are representative of large-scale climatic processes on centennial timescales. With a multiproxy analysis, we show that proxy data during the Little Ice Age (1450-1850 AD) display a spatially consistent pattern compared to low-frequency analysis of observational data. Our study provides strong evidence for a tight coupling between Atlantic Ocean dynamics and hydroclimate in the Western Hemisphere, during a time period where climatic background conditions were similar to the preindustrial era.

9:00 am - BEG/JSG: Postdoctoral Fellow Collaborative Seminar

BEG/JSG: Postdoctoral Fellow Collaborative Seminar

  Start: May 15, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: May 15, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Jackson School of Geological Sciences Speakers:
Nick Dygert
George Fisher
Tieyuan Zhu

Reactive transport and flow in porous media: an example from the mantle at Trinity ophiolite
Presented by: Nick Dygert (9:00-9:20)

Tabular dunite bodies (dunite channels) are thought to represent pathways for efficient melt extraction from the mantle. They form by melt-rock reaction, an important physical process that affects the compositions of dunite-hosted basaltic melts and the mantle they originate from. In order to better understand melt-rock interactions at dunite channels, we analyzed pyroxene in samples collected across an ~20 m wide dunite-harzburgite-lherzolite-plagioclase lherzolite sequence at the Trinity Ophiolite. The lithological sequence and major and trace element concentration gradients suggest a two stage history of evolution is preserved at Trinity. In the first stage, basaltic melt infiltrated a harzburgitic residue of partial melting, forming plagioclase lherzolite. In the second stage, a trace element depleted melt migrated from a dunite channel into the plagioclase lherzolite. The infiltration of dunite-hosted melts into peridotitic host rock may be common, providing an explanation for the wide array of melt-peridotite interactions observed in abyssal peridotites and some ophiolites.

A tale of two projects: Pliocene drivers of erosion in the Andes and the fate of Deepwater Horizon oil
Presented by: George Fisher (9:20-9:40)

The aim of this talk is to briefly showcase two of the projects I am currently working on as well as highlight some of the techniques I use in my research. I will begin by discussing ongoing work in NW Argentina where we have utilized a unique field setting along the foreland Rio Iruya canyon to create a high-resolution terrestrial record of erosion rates off the eastern Cordillera spanning the Pliocene. Early evidence indicates a strong correlation between erosion rate values and 400 kyr eccentricity driven insolation and may result from complex global climate teleconnections. The second part of the talk will focus on recent and ongoing work in the Gulf of Mexico looking at the fate and degradation of the oil released during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Our work identifies a fallout plume of hydrocarbons ~3200 km2 in area on the seafloor surrounding the spill site and represents ~4-30% of the oil sequestered in the deep ocean (~2 million barrels). I will end by highlighting some of the implications, questions, and ongoing research directions associated with this finding.

Spatial-temporal changes in seismic attenuation indicate the movement of sequestrated CO2
Presented by: Tieyuan Zhu (9:40-10:00)

Active source crosswell seismic data was continuously collected during CO2 injection in Frio CO2 sequestration site in Texas. I present an analysis of spatial-temporal seismic attenuation changes of the first P-wave arrivals. Attenuation changes over the injection period are estimated by the amount of the centroid frequency shift computed by the local frequency tool. Observations are: at receivers above the packer (in shale) seismic attenuation does not change in a physical trend; at receivers below the packer (in Frio formation) attenuation sharply increases as the amount of CO2 plume increase and peaks at specific points with distributed receivers, which are consistent with observations from time delays of first arrivals. Then, attenuation decreases over the injection time with increased amount of CO2 plume. Attenuation changes show a unique increase-decrease pattern. Along with the attenuation-saturation White patchy model, the relationship between increase-decrease pattern of attenuation change and CO2 saturation can be (at least) qualitatively explained. Our analysis suggests that seismic attenuation during CO2 injection not only is able to reveal the movement/saturation of CO2 plume but also is sensitive to a possible larger saturation that velocity does not.

3:00 pm - Spring Graduation Ceremony

Spring Graduation Ceremony

  Start: May 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm     End: May 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm
 Location:Bates Recital Hall on UT campus
 Contact:Kristen Tucek, ktucek@jsg.utexas.edu, 512-471-2223