Welcome to the Jackson School of Geosciences Newsletter. A tradition since 1950, the Newsletter highlights research, news and achievements by Jackson School faculty, students, scientists and alumni.
From prehistoric creatures and brilliant gems to the rocks that revealed one of the country's largest shale plays, the Jackson School's collections house valuable and beautiful specimens.
For nearly six decades, Bill Fisher has been a driving force in geology in Texas and beyond, helping turn the Bureau of Economic Geology into a world-class research institution, launching the Jackson School of Geosciences, educating generations of geosciences leaders and shaping policy across the nation.
Jackson School researchers study the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey with an eye toward preparing for the future.
The executive summary of the Jackson School's new 10-year strategic plan.
Dear Alumni and Friends,
It’s been another incredibly busy and exciting year at the Jackson School of Geosciences, capped off by our new strategic plan, “Earth Transitions in Space and Time.” The far-reaching document was several years
in the making and includes input from throughout the school. It identifies the vision, objectives and priority areas for the school over the next 10 years in education, research, facilities and equity.
I encourage you to read the summary of the plan on page 106 and the full plan at www.jsg.utexas.edu. The stories in this year’s Newsletter show the plan in action. The feature on page 68 about Leslie P. and Dianne White’s wonderful donation of a Central Texas ranch and the school’s plans to turn it into our first Texas Observatory is a great example. It embodies the type of interdisciplinary research and teaching we are pushing at the Jackson School to help understand and solve the major issues facing Texas and the world. The feature on page 58
about the research we conducted in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is another illustration of the type of research and education we are conducting to tackle issues that affect everyone.
The expertise and talent we have at the Jackson School is second to none. This was recently recognized nationally when the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of “Best Graduate Schools” named us the No. 1 Geology program in the country. You can read about the rankings on page 4. This is a tremendous accomplishment that took the combined efforts of the entire Jackson School community. We should all be very proud.
One reason we are constantly looking to hire the best is that we have to replace those who move on. This year, a number of talented researchers and faculty have decided to retire, topped by founding Dean Bill Fisher, who has spent nearly 60 years at the University of Texas. Bill has had an astounding career and a major impact on the geosciences at UT and far beyond. It is an honor to count him as a colleague and friend, and I encourage
you to read the story about his life and career on page 88.
We also said our final goodbye to a number of friends and colleagues this year. As you’ll see in the memorials section, the list includes people who helped make the Jackson School the special place it is — Professors Emeriti
Bob Folk, Milo Backus and Leonard Brown, as well as Ann Molineux, curator and collections manager at the Jackson School Museum of Earth History Non-vertebrate Paleontology collections. They will be dearly missed.
On a lighter note, as the cover of the Newsletter highlights, we are featuring specimens from across the Jackson
School’s collections in this issue. Sometimes we forget that our amazing collections are not just scientifically valuable, but beautiful and inspiring. I hope you enjoy the photospreads that begin on page 74.
Throughout the Newsletter, you will see nods to the fact that we have surpassed more than a century of teaching students in our signature field camps. I know many of you have fond memories of these camps, just as I do. We should all take pride in the fact that even as other schools are cutting back their field offerings, we continueto find more and more ways to get our students the hands-on field experiences that we all know are vital to training geoscientists. We couldn’t do so without your support.
Thank you, and enjoy the Newsletter!
Sharon Mosher, Dean
- Jackson School Ranks No. 1
- Methane in Barnett Area Groundwater Naturally Occurring
- Carbon Capture in Japan
- UTIG Director Accepts NSF Leadership Role
- Mammal Forerunner— and 38 Babies— Shed Light on Brain Evolution
- Lunar Resurfacing
- Research Links Rainfall and Ocean Circulation in Past and Present
- Rapid Evolution Fails to Save Butterflies
- New Practices for Zircon Sampling
- Did Plate Tectonics Freeze the Planet?
- Track Tremors Online
- World’s Largest Ice Sheet Not So Stable After All
- Hidden “Rock Moisture” Could Help Forests Survive
- Predicting La Niña
- T. Rex Couldn’t Stick Out Its Tongue
- Life Finds a Way at Impact Site of Dino-Killing Asteroid
- Seafloor Sediments Enhance Earthquake Risk
- Meet the Rainbow Dino
- Newly Discovered Salty Subglacial Lakes Could Help Search for Life in Solar System
- Satellites Reveal Room for Improvement for Water Storage Models
- Remote Fracture Mapping
- Michelle Foss: A Global Energy Market Educator
- Eddie Collins: A Career Focused on Texas Geology
- Patricia Ganey-Curry: Preserving a Legacy
- Timothy Goudge: Cross-Planetary Possibilities
- Shirley Dutton: Sedimentary Detective
- Gary Kocurek: Dune Drifter
- Bob Hardage: Leadership in 3-D Seismic Research
- Robert Dickinson: Climate Giant
- Chasing Icebergs
- Training Arctic Geologists
- Investigating Mountain Building in Slovakia
- A Century of Field Camp
- Teaching the Teachers
- Future of Geoscience Education Initiatives
- Talking Texas Fossils
- Jackson School Brings Earth in 2100 to Masri Institite
- Geoscience Empowerment Network Builds Support and Diversity at JSG
- Tinker Filming Switch Sequels
- Bureau Director Presents Keynote in Bahrain
- On Earth Day, UT’s EarthDate Celebrated One Year of Exploring the Planet’s Mysteries
- Graduate Students Host An Evening on Texas Water
- Jackson School Scientists Go Deep for Cave and Karst Day
- Jackson School Hosts High School Researchers during AAAS Conference
Summer Field Camps
In the News
Awards & Honors
- Student Research Symposium Awards
- Parmesan Gets “Make Our Planet Great Again” Grant
- Clarke Named HHMI Professor for Innovation in Undergraduate Education
- SEG Recognizes Bureau’s Excellence
- Tinker Wins AGI Campbell Medal
- Haddad Honored with Ferguson Medal
- Mohrig Wins Pettijohn Medal; Named Associate Dean of Research
- Sen Receive SEG’s Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal
- Horton Inaugural Recipient of SEPM Dickinson Medal
- Alva Ellisor and Lynton Land Join Elite Group of Geoscientists