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AUSTIN, Texas — A new study suggests that increases in atmospheric CO2 could intensify extreme droughts in tropical and subtropical regions — such as Australia, the southwest and central United States, and southern Amazonia — at much a faster rate than previously anticipated, explains University of Texas at Austin professor Rong Fu in a commentary in…

As the bitter 2011 Texas drought stretched on into its third year, the Jackson School of Geoscience’s Center for Integrated Earth System Science (CIESS) hosted its third annual Water Forum. The forum, held Oct. 14 -15, 2013, focused on the latest research on droughts and other extreme weather events and provided a forum for discussion…

Growing up amid the crisp, cold landscape of the Canadian Rockies, Rowan Martindale’s family liked to vacation in tropical environs with warm waters. As a result, the high-country farm girl learned to snorkel and scuba dive and explored coral reefs at an early age. Now, through her studies of ancient reefs, Martindale, an assistant professor…

When Jay Banner accepted his first faculty position, teaching was just something he had to do so he could do what he really loved—research. In particular, studying the processes by which ocean sediments become rock, tracing underground flow paths of water and using cave formations to reconstruct past climate. His first teaching assignment was an…

Michelle Stocker (PhD ’13), former graduate student in The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences, has dramatically rearranged the evolutionary tree for several extinct crocodile-like animals that lived over 200 million years ago in present day Texas, Wyoming and Germany. Based on this new understanding, she has renamed one of the specimens…

The Miracle of Flight

Nobody had any idea just how gigantic a pterosaur could be until the spring of 1971. Douglas A. Lawson, MA ’72, was a 22-year-old graduate student in geology that year working under the supervision of professor Wann Langston. Lawson announced the discovery of his pterosaur in a 1975 article in Science. In that pre-Jurassic Park era, when…

A Classroom at the Edge of the World

Take the trip of a lifetime in this interactive online feature from the Alcalde magazine. The feature follows dozens of UT Austin geology and petroleum engineering students to Svalbard, Norway for a field trip hosted by Statoil. Alcalde Magazine, November/December 2013 Featuring: Scott Tinker, Ron Steel, Daniel Stockli, Rong Fu, Isaac Smith

Professor Jim Sprinkle Retires

Jim Sprinkle, First Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Yager Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, has retired after 42 years of teaching and conducting research at the University. A celebration in his honor is being planned for Friday, November 15. His research focused on Paleozoic marine communities and especially on early (and now mostly…

The Amazon rain forest’s dry season lasts three weeks longer than it did 30 years ago, and the likely culprit is global warming, according to a new study by Rong Fu and her colleagues. The new findings forecast a more parched future for the Amazon rain forest than the climate report released last month by…

A new study suggests the southern portion of the Amazon rainforest is at a much higher risk of dieback due to stronger seasonal drying than projections made by the climate models used in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If severe enough, the loss of rainforest could cause the release…

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