Work in the Geological Porous Media Group
Our group is very diverse, current students are enrolled in PhD programs in Geological Sciences (this includes Geophysics), Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, and Computational Science Engineering and Mathematics and they have undergraduate degrees in the Geosciences, Engineering, and Physics. All have a quantitative background and share an interest in mathematical modeling and numerical simulation of complex geosystems and the dynamics of flow in porous media. The new Graduate Portfolio Program in Computational Geosciences (starting Fall 2013) forms the backbone of the graduate education in our group. This new program is a first-of-a-kind interdisciplinary graduate program designed to educate tomorrow’s leaders in computational and quantitative geosciences. Dr. Hesse teaches a sequence of graduate courses focussed on porous media that tightly integrate mathematical modeling and numerical simulation and provide the background required for advanced graduate work.
Graduate students are generally expected identify an important problem in the Earth and environmental sciences, develop appropriate and most likely new mathematical models. The course work will provide students with the skills to analyze their model and to develop appropriate numerical solutions. The group has a strong esprit de corps and graduate students share skills and help each other with problem shooting.
The Jackson School of Geosciences provides competitive Postdoctoral Fellowships for outstanding young scientists in all areas of the Geosciences. Applicants with independent funding can contact Marc Hesse directly.
- Postdoc position in computational Geoscience is available:
This position has been filled.
Current PhD Opportunities
I am currently looking for new graduate students starting in the fall 2018 in the following areas. If you are interested, please contact me directly.
Multiphase flow in ductile rocks
The aim is to derive continuum models for the motion of two pore-fluids in a viscously deforming porous matrix and develop numerical methods for their solution. The project is funded to understand the conditions that allow the invasion of brine and hydrocarbons into the base of sedimentary salt deposits. Although salt is generally considered impermeable, a broad range of observations suggests the migration of pore fluids into and through salt at depth (Ghanbarzadeh et al. 2015). Episodic fluid migration through salt may explain some of the dramatic variations in sub-salt pore pressure, which pose a significant operational hazard in hydrocarbon exploration. Beyond the application to salt-brine-hydrocarbon systems, such three-phase flows have broad applications in solid earth and planetary sciences. The ideal applicant has an interest in applied mathematics, solid/fluid mechanics and numerical methods. Applicants without geoscience background should have a genuine interest geological problems.
Thermal evolution and chemical differentiation of primordial planetesimals
The accretion and chemical differentiation of the first planetesimals occurred within a few million years after the formation of the solar system. Differentiation was driven by the rapid heating of short-lived and now extinct isotopes. Meteorites show that many planetesimals initially experienced melting of the metallic phases followed by partial melting of the silicate phases. This project will develop a model for two-phase flow in a viscously compacting matrix to simulate the thermal evolution and chemical differentiation of these primordial planetesimals. Of particular interest is the partitioning of the short-lived isotopes into the silicate melt and the associated outward migration of the heat source. Pore-scale simulations and micro-CT observations on primitive achondrite meteorites will be used to investigate the interaction of the two melts to determine if the presence of silicate melt lubricates the formation of the metallic core or hinders it.
The University of Texas at Austin is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer.
Posted – 11/27/2017