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2007 Releases & Features


Ringside Seat

For 20 years, Fred Taylor has done fundamental research in the Solomons, an island arc in the famous Pacific Ring of Fire. The islands trace the underwater boundary where the Pacific Plate, slowly advancing to the southwest, forces three smaller, generally northeast-moving plates down below it, in a process known as subduction. Until recently, Taylor…

On Monday morning, April 2, 2007, residents of Gizo, a small fishing town in the Solomon Islands, were shaken by a massive earthquake originating 40 kilometers (25 miles) away beneath the seafloor. “It started out slowly with slight shaking for maybe 10 or 15 seconds, then it kicked into full gear,” said Danny Kennedy, a…

This past summer, a team of Russian explorers piloted two submersibles to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean at the North Pole and dropped a titanium Russian flag onto the seafloor. Although no other country has recognized Russia’s symbolic claim to the North Pole, it raises the question of who owns what below the Arctic…

Research announced this week by a team of U.S. and Japanese geoscientists may help explain why part of the seafloor near the southwest coast of Japan is particularly good at generating devastating tsunamis, such as the 1944 Tonankai event, which killed at least 1,200 people. The findings will help scientists assess the risk of giant…

Polar ice experts once thought Antarctica’s ice sheets were mostly immune to climate change. Research findings of the past decade have started to melt away their confidence. Satellites have revealed that the ice sheets are thinning and their glacial slide into the sea is speeding up. Ice cores show that at times in the geologic…

Mead Allison joined the Institute for Geophysics as a senior research scientist in August 2007. Allison’s research focuses on coastal geological oceanography, including both the modern and paleo environments. “Most of my work is around the transition where large rivers impact the ocean, the river-dominated continental margin,” Allison said. “These are areas where there are…

Aaron Averett joined the Bureau of Economic Geology as a research scientist associate in May 2006. Averett develops internet applications that incorporate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in support of several Bureau projects. He recently developed a surface casing estimator application for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This application uses data representing the depth at…

Raymond Eastwood joined the Bureau of Economic Geology as a research fellow in October 2006, where he works in the State of Texas Advance Resource Recovery (STARR) program. As a petrophysicist in the STARR program, Eastwood uses Geolog analysis software to create log interpretation models designed to improve oil and gas recovery in Texas. Eastwood’s…

Nick Hayman joined the Institute for Geophysics as a research associate in September 2007. Hayman’s research interests include structural geology and geodynamics. He is working in the Marine Seismology group studying the ocean crust, particularly the geological structure of fault zones. “I look at things we see in the geological record in order to quantify…

Rebecca Jones recently rejoined the Bureau of Economic Geology. She worked as a research scientist associate from 2001 to 2005 and returned to this position in May 2007. Her interests include stratigraphic and seismic interpretation and reservoir characterization. She has primarily studied the Permian Basin region of West Texas. She is currently working on regional…

Lorena Moscardelli joined the Bureau of Economic Geology as a research associate in June 2007, after earning her Ph.D. from the Jackson School’s Department of Geological Sciences in May. Moscardelli’s main interest is in mass transport complexes, research she began while working on her dissertation. She also participates in the State of Texas Advanced Resource…

Doug McCowan joined the Bureau of Economic Geology as a research associate in June 2007, working in the Marine Seismic Data Center. McCowan splits his time between the Bureau and Houston where he works as an independent seismic software developer. His research focuses on the acquisition and analysis of multichannel seismic reflection and refraction data,…

Michael Tobis joined the Institute for Geophysics as a research scientist associate in May 2007 working in the climate research section designing, implementing, and managing software projects. His interests include earth system modeling, and most of his work uses the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Community Climate System Model. He is currently working with Charles…

Chris Zahm joined the Bureau of Economic Geology’s Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory in January 2007, where he works on fractures and non-matrix pores in carbonate reservoirs. Zahm looks at outcrops as an analog for subsurface reservoirs, building models based on the outcrops to be able to run tests to determine how fractures and karst-type systems…

Quantitative Seismic Geomorphology

Dallas Dunlap returned to the Bureau of Economic Geology as a research scientist associate in June 2006, a position he previously held from 1996 to 2004. Dunlap works in the Quantitative Clastics Laboratory Industrial Associates program (QCLIA) where his research focuses on the analysis and visualization of morphology in seismic data. Known as quantitative seismic…

Polar ice experts from Europe and the United States, meeting to pursue greater scientific consensus over the fate of the world’s largest fresh water reservoir, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, conclude their three-day meeting at The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences with the following statement: Surprisingly rapid changes are occurring in…

Scientists this week begin the final leg of a five-year, NASA-funded mission to reach the bottom of Cenote Zacatón in Mexico, the world’s deepest known sinkhole. No one has ever reached bottom and at least one diver has died in the attempt. Scientists want to learn more about Cenote Zacatón’s physical dimensions, the geothermal vents…

The global hunt for unconventional gas reserves recently turned to an unlikely spot—a patch of north central Texas that already seemed tapped out after 50 years of intense oil and gas drilling. Technology, economics and one man’s persistence transformed the Barnett Shale formation of the Fort Worth Basin into a booming new frontier. As conventional…

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