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PHOTO BY U.S. COAST GUARD

Ever since an explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore rig in 2010 released about five million of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, researchers have been trying to figure out where much of the oil ended up. A new study is offering some answers.

State Impact, October 28, 2014

U.S. News and World Report, ABC News, October 27, 2014

Featuring Burch Fisher, postdoctoral fellow, Jackson School of Geosciences


Shallow-water acreage will be first up on the menu of E&P blocks being offered by Mexico following the country’s historic decision to deregulate its oil and gas industry, according to plans presented by Mexico’s top energy officials this week.

Hart Energy, October 22, 2014

Featuring: Jorge Piñon, director of the Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program at the University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences


Credit: USGS

The University of Texas at Austin has won $58 million to investigate a potentially massive energy resource: methane trapped in ice-like crystals under the Gulf of Mexico and oceans around the world.

The Department of Energy is providing $41.2 million toward the grant, one of the largest government grants ever awarded to the university, with the rest coming from industry and research partners.

The university plans to use the funding to harvest and analyze core samples of methane hydrate from sandstone reservoirs thousands of feet under the Gulf – the first time the deposits have been retrieved from U.S. waters.

Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, October 22, 2014

Featuring: Peter Flemings, professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics


Current computer models may have overestimated expected future levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, according to research released today.

And the models may need to be corrected to accurately predict the ramifications of climate change.

The scientists say current forecasts don’t account for the slow diffusion of atmospheric CO2 inside plant leaves and underestimate the contribution of increasing CO2 to plant growth by as much as 16%.

Business Insider Australia, October 14, 2014

Featuring: Robert Dickinson, professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences


Research done at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas has cleared fracking of one of the most serious allegations leveled against it by environmentalists who oppose the practice – that it uses a disproportionate amount of water and risks depleting water sources for agricultural and residential users, especially in already water-challenged south Texas.

But researcher Dr. Bridget Scanlon tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI that claim is not true.

“The water used to produce oil using hydraulic fracturing is similar to the water used in the U.S. to produce oil using conventional techniques,” she said.

WOAI, October 6, 2014

Featuring: Bridget Scanlon, senior research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences


The subglacial “plumbing system” beneath Greenland is slowing the ice sheet’s movement toward the sea as the summer progresses, according to new research.

“Everyone wants to know what’s happening under Greenland as it experiences more and more melt,” study co-author Ginny Catania, a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics, said in a statement. “This subglacial plumbing may or may not be critical for sea level rise in the next 100 years, but we don’t really know until we fully understand it.”

Nature World News, October 6, 2014

Featuring: Lauren Andrews, Ph.D. candidate, and Ginny Catania, research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics and associate professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences


At a meeting just miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, Texas legislators heard a range of benefits their state can look forward to as Mexico remakes its energy sector – and also a stiff warning that capturing the windfall won’t be easy.

Over the past year, the Mexican government has approved a historical overhaul opening its energy industry to private investment after decades as a state-owned monopoly.

Houston Chronicle, Sept. 28, 2014

Featuring: Jorge Piñon, director of the Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program at the University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences


Central Texas is having a pretty decent year, rain-wise. We’re sitting just below normal. And it’s been a good week, too: early Thursday, one part of Austin got over seven inches of rain.

So much rain fell over downtown Austin that the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan along Lady Bird Lake looked like he was walking on water. It brought back memories of the Halloween floods last fall — back then Stevie was standing in water waist-deep. But these big rain events all have something in common: They really haven’t fallen where we need them most.

NPR’s StateImpact Texas, September 19, 2014

Featuring: Michael Young, associate director of environmental systems at the University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology in the Jackson School of Geosciences


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas has selected William Fisher, inaugural dean of UT-Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences, to receive its Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award for 2014-2015. The award is the highest recognition the College bestows upon its graduates.


UT Professor Zong-Liang Yang was at a conference on extreme weather in the Netherlands. It was 2012, just one year after the worst single-year drought in Texas history. When it came to discussing extreme weather, Texas seemed like a good place to be.  He suggested to colleagues that their next conference should take place in the Lone Star State. Two years later, he and dozens of some of the world’s leading climate experts from 10 different countries have descended upon UT-Austin to talk about improving our ability to forecast and prepare for extreme weather.

StateImpact Texas (KUT/NPR), Sept. 9, 2014

Featuring:

Zong-Liang Yang, professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and director of the Center for Integrated Earth System Science

Michael Young, associate director for Environmental Systems and senior research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology


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