The Jackson School has one of the country's largest, most diverse, and most respected geophysics programs. Ranked No. 6 according to U.S. New & World Report, the geophysics program benefits from outstanding connections to industry and a strong grounding in basic research through the school's major units, including the Institute for Geophysics, which employs 40 research scientists (and many JSG graduate students) working across the spectrum of geophysics research.

Overall, the Jackson School has about 250 graduate students in all disciplines, divided about equally between master of science and doctoral degree seekers. Both degrees involve original research in the form of a thesis or dissertation, and publication of results and presentation at professional society meetings is a goal for all graduate students.

Roughly 20 percent of the graduate student body is engaged in research that employs geophysical observations, and/or develops new geophysical techniques. The diverse graduate research opportunities in geophysics can be separated broadly into four major themes: field intensive studies; theoretical and numerical investigations; applied geophysics; and regional to global scale studies.

Field Studies

Examples include Antarctic expeditions with aero-geophysical surveys of major ice sheets; marine geophysical expeditions to understand tectonic and sedimentary processes over the continental margins and deep oceans; broad-band seismic experiments to illuminate the structure of the crust and upper mantle; airborne laser mapping of topography to understand terrestrial sedimentary processes; radar and electromagnetic investigations of the near-surface; and active source seismic experiments for near-surface and petroleum exploration studies. There are also development efforts for seismic sources and receivers, gravity, radar, and other field instrumentation.

Theoretical and numerical investigations

These include: solutions to inverse problems to estimate complex multi-parameter earth models from large data sets; development of numerical methods to simulate wave propagation and deformation in complex materials via finite element and finite difference methods; inference from and analysis of complex systems, such as Earth's climate variations; and development of algorithms using parallel processing architectures.

Applied geophysics

Geophysical methods employing seismic and electromagnetic waves can be used to explore for resources, including petroleum, water, and others, and to estimate near surface physical properties for identification of hazards. Examples underway at UT include improved imaging of subsurface structures to support geological interpretation; estimation of subsurface physical properties from conventional and multi-component seismic data; and application of electromagnetic methods (radar and others) to estimate subsurface structure and physical properties.

Regional to global scale studies

UT geophysicists develop images of the interior of the earth using seismic waves; study earthquake sources and their distribution in time and space; interpret the deformation of the crust and the forces that cause them; and study Earth's gravity and magnetic fields from surface and space-based observations.

Faculty & Research Scientists

James A AustinJames A Austin
Stratigraphic evolution of a wide range of marine and lacustrine environments around the world
Thorsten  BeckerThorsten Becker
mantle dynamics; fault system dynamics; structural seismology; numerical modeling
Ginny CataniaGinny Catania
Ice sheet mass balance, ice dynamics, subglacial hydrology, ice sheet stratigraphy, radar, GPS methods, uncertainty in ice sheet response to climate.
Gail L ChristesonGail L Christeson
Marine seismology, mid-ocean ridge structure and emplacement processes, oceanic crustal structure, ocean-bottom seismology, seismic refraction
Jacob A CovaultJacob A Covault
sedimentology, stratigraphy, marine geology
Sergey FomelSergey Fomel
Computational and exploration geophysics; seismic imaging; wave propagation; seismic data analysis; inverse problems; geophysical estimation
Cliff FrohlichCliff Frohlich
Seismology, deep earthquakes, Texas earthquakes, moonquakes, statistical analysis of earthquake catalogs
Omar  GhattasOmar Ghattas
Computational geoscience and engineering, simulation and optimization of complex solid, fluid, and biomechanical systems, inverse problems, optimal design, and optimal control
John A GoffJohn A Goff
Seafloor morphology and bathymetry, swath sonar mapping, stratigraphy of the shallow seabed, ultra-high resolution seismic reflection (chrip) systems, sedimentary horizons, sea ice draft, crustal heterogeneity, canyon morphology on continental slopes, abyssal hills
Stephen P GrandStephen P Grand
Seismic imaging of Earth's mantle, tomography, dynamics of flow in the mantle, regional seismic studies
Sean S GulickSean S Gulick
Tectonic processes, tectonic-climate interactions and geohazards of convergent margins and transitional tectonic environments Role of catastrophism in the geologic record including impact cratering, hurricanes, and tectonic events Marine geophysical imaging at nested resolutions and ground truth through drilling, coring, logging, and submersibles
Bob A HardageBob A Hardage
Seismic stratigraphy interpretation; reservoir characterization; acquiring, processing, and interpreting downhole and surface seismic data; multicomponent seismic technology
Nicholas W HaymanNicholas W Hayman
Currently active projects include studies of ocean-crustal faulting, the dynamics of continental rifting, evolution of forearc basins and accretionary prisms, and mudrock microstructure. Also many projects involve sailing on research vessels to study active spreading centers in various corners of the globe.
Marc A HesseMarc A Hesse
Multiphase flow in porous media, geomechanics, numerical simulation, mathematical, modeling, reactive transport, magma dynamics.
Jack HoltJack Holt
Mars ice and paleoclimate, Alaskan glaciers, airborne and orbital geophysics, hydrogeophysics, paleomagnetism. See Jack's UTIG webpage:
Farzam  JavadpourFarzam Javadpour
Dispersion phenomena in porous systems (hydrocarbon reservoirs and brine aquifers); shale gas; CO2 injection up-scaling; EOR, EGR, and sequestration; nonotechnology in rock characterization.
Alexander  KlokovAlexander Klokov
Seismic diffractions, fracture characterization, seismic processing, seismic imaging
Luc L LavierLuc L Lavier
Tectonics; the structural and geodynamical evolution of continental and oceanic rifts, as well as collisional environments; numerical techniques to model tectonic processes on crustal and lithospheric scales; deformation; subduction
Lawrence A LawverLawrence A Lawver
Marine geophysics, plate tectonics, magnetics, gravity, heat flow, seismic studies, paleogeographic reconstructions of Gondwana, the Polar Regions, East Asia, and the Western Pacific
Jung-Fu  LinJung-Fu Lin
Mineral physics, physics and chemistry of planetary materials, solid-Earth geophysics and geochemistry, high-pressure diamond anvil cell, X-ray and laser spectroscopy
Kirk D McIntoshKirk D McIntosh
Structure and development of continental margins along convergent and transpressive plate boundaries; sediment accretion, subduction, and erosion at convergent margins; forearc and backarc extension and compression; fluid dynamics in accretionary prisms; shallow-subduction seismicity
Dr. Tip MeckelDr. Tip Meckel
Stratigraphy, structural geology, CO2 sequestration, carbon capture and storage, CCS, high-resolution 3D seismic imaging
Maria-Aikaterini  NikolinakouMaria-Aikaterini Nikolinakou
Maria-Katerina Nikolinakou is currently a Research Associate at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, at the University of Texas at Austin. She works for the AGL and GeoFluids consortia. Maria is a Civil/Geotechnical Engineer. She received her Science Doctorate on Theoretical Soil Mechanics from MIT in 2008. She holds a M.Sc. in Geotechnical Engineering from MIT and a Civil Engineering degree from NTUA, Greece. Before joining the Jackson School, she worked ...
Jeffrey G PaineJeffrey G Paine
Near-surface geophysics in hydrogeology and environmental and Quaternary geology; coastal geology; Quaternary geology and geomorphology; computer applications in the geological sciences
Mrinal K SenMrinal K Sen
Seismic wave propagation including anisotropy, geophysical inverse problems, earthquakes and earth structure, applied seismology, petroleum exploration including 4D seismology
Thomas H ShipleyThomas H Shipley
Marine seismology; subduction processes occurring at converging plate margins; the role of fluids in accretionary trench margins and their influence on the distribution of low-shear-strength fault zones; 3D seismic techniques
Kyle T SpikesKyle T Spikes
Exploration Geophysics, in particular rock physics applications and seismic inversion techniques for reservoir characterization.
Nicola  TisatoNicola Tisato
Are rocks elastic? Not really... especially when saturated with multi-phase fluids. Did you know that a seismic wave is able of mobilizing the liquid saturating rocks and that such a process reduces the seismic wave strength? Yes, this phenomenon, called Wave-Induced-Fluid-Flow could be used to improve subsurface imaging. How? The absorption of elastic energy varies with frequency, this means that certain frequencies are attenuated and other maybe not. Why is this important? Well, adding information ...
Harm J Van AvendonkHarm J Van Avendonk
Van Avendonk is an active-source seismologist who specializes in the acquisition and inversion of seismic refraction data on land and at sea. Often these seismic refraction data are used for a tomographic inversion. The resultant seismic velocity models help us to interpret the composition of the Earth’s crust and mantle, the geometry of sedimentary basins, and the structure of plate boundaries.
Laura Wallace
Crustal deformation, GPS/Geodesy, active plate boundary processes, subduction tectonics, geohazards
Jake WalterJake Walter
ice sheet and glacier dynamics, tectonic tremor and slow slip, earthquakes, induced seismicity, seismic triggering of earthquakes and other phenomena
Clark R WilsonClark R Wilson
Geophysics, including gravity, space geodesy, and applied seismology
Duncan A YoungDuncan A Young
Ice-rock physical interactions in an ice cap context, tectonic evolution of the younger planetary crusts
Hongliu  ZengHongliu Zeng
Seismic sedimentology; seismic geomorphology; seismic and sequence stratigraphy; Characterization of thin-bed reservoirs; seismic chrono-stratgraphy
Tongwei  ZhangTongwei Zhang
Gas geochemistry and isotope geochemistry; Petroleum and gas generation kinetics and basin modeling; Fluid transport processes in basins and reservoirs; Organic-inorganic interactions; Unconventional gas reservoir characterization; CO2 sequestration and H2S risk prediction.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Chastity  AikenChastity Aiken
statistical seismology, location of seismic sources, matched filter technique, Python
Cyril Grima
Feras A Habbal
Krista M SoderlundKrista M Soderlund
Astrobiology, Cryosphere, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Magnetohydrodynamics, Planetary Science
Stacey  WormanStacey Worman
Marine Science, Energy Geosciences, Desert geomorphology, Biogeomorphology
Xinming  WuXinming Wu
3D seismic interpretation, image processing, subsurface modeling, seismic stratigraphy, inversion problems......
Tieyuan  ZhuTieyuan Zhu
Wave propagation in the earth, seismic attenuation, real-time seismic monitoring of CO2, imaging, tomography, borehole seismology

Adjunct/Emeritus Faculty​ & Research Scientists

Yosio  NakamuraYosio Nakamura
Geophysics, lunar and planetary seismology, ocean-bottom seismometry
Paul L StoffaPaul L Stoffa
Multichannel seismic acquisition, signal processing, acoustic and elastic wave propagation, modeling and inversion of geophysical data
Robert H TathamRobert H Tatham
Dr. Tatham's research is presently on interpretation and analysis of multi-component seismic data. In particular, by considering both seismic P-wave and S-wave data, many of the effects of solid rock properties and pore-fluid properties may be separated.

Research Staff

Michael V DeangeloMichael V Deangelo
2-D/3-D seismic interpretation and seismic inversion analysis; geological/geophysical database management; development of seismic vector-wavefield technologies; seismic data acquisition and 3D acquisition design
Katherine K EllinsKatherine K Ellins
Geoscience education, outreach, K-12 programs, diversity programs, public information.
Lisa M GahaganLisa M Gahagan
Plate reconstructions; map production (for figures, etc.) including adding data to maps; database design; some manipulation of SEG-Y data files; web page coding (html and php coding); teaching digitizing / introduction to GMT to students
Thomas Hess
Geoscience software, anisotropic imaging, seismic processing, seismic geometry, deconvolution, problem solving.
Yosio  NakamuraYosio Nakamura
Geophysics, lunar and planetary seismology, ocean-bottom seismometry
Ian O NortonIan O Norton
Plate tectonics, structural evolution of continental margins, reconciliation of observations from structural geology with regional tectonics
Karl L Schleicher

Graduate Students

Reetam Biswas
Taylor M BorgfeldtTaylor M Borgfeldt
Building a crustal seismic velocity model of Texas.
Barry M BorgmanBarry M Borgman
Marina C FrederikMarina C Frederik
Marina is working on a project titled 'Morphology and structure of the accretionary prism offshore North Sumatra, Indonesia and Kodiak Island, USA'
Brad T GoochBrad T Gooch
I am a PhD student working at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. I am researching the importance of basin-scale groundwater flow, geothermal heat flow, and geomechanical feedbacks on the dynamics of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet via numerical modeling and geophysical observations. I have a broad educational and professional work background in the geosciences comprising knowledge from both geology and geophysics. In general, I am fascinated with how the Earth came to be ...
Jamin S GreenbaumJamin S Greenbaum
Menal  GuptaMenal Gupta
For my PhD work, I use multi-component seismic data to understand the angle dependent reflectivity of different pure and converted Shear-wave modes and its linkage to subsurface fractures and their properties. My research also includes extracting and analyzing direct S-wave modes like S-S and Sv-P generated by conventional P-wave sources to testing their feasibility as a viable S-wave data that provide a low cost alternative to shear wave seismic acquisition surveys. Previously, I have been ...
Jennifer  HardingJennifer Harding
I am using wide-angle refraction tomography to study the role of magmatism and tectonics in crustal accretion at the Mid Cayman Spreading Center, an ultra-slow spreading center in the Caribbean Sea.
Yawen  HeYawen He
Chang Lu
Patrick K Meazell
Dmitrii Merzlikin
Gail MuldoonGail Muldoon
I am interested in better understanding uncertainty in climate predictions in order to reduce that uncertainty. My research explores the intersection of data and modeling efforts, in order to evaluate how uncertain models make use of uncertain data. My current projects focus on the contribution of ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctica) to rising sea level. I have been using the Community Earth System Model to evaluate the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet from pre-industrial ...
Stefano  NerozziStefano Nerozzi
Kelly Olsen
Eric I Petersen
Eric Petersen is a PhD student working on Martian lobate debris aprons (LDAs), strange landforms interpreted as massive debris-covered glacier systems. As remnants of past obliquity-driven glacial cycles on Mars, these features are valuable indicators of Amazonian palaeoclimate. Eric's work involves using SHARAD orbital radar sounding data in conjunction with ice flow modeling and geomorphic analysis to provide constraints on LDA formation and history. He is also interested in geophysical studies of debris-covered glaciers and ...
Mason  PhillipsMason Phillips
Qi Ren
Yunzhi  ShiYunzhi Shi
Junzhe  SunJunzhe Sun
Seismic imaging, forward modeling and seismic anisotropy.
John M SwartzJohn M Swartz
Research interests: Sedimentology/stratigraphy, coastal and nearshore processes, quantitative geomorphology, marine geophysics, statistical methods in geoscience
David Tang
Carolyn Tewksbury-Christ
Xinyue  TongXinyue Tong
I use develop numerical experiments of subduction to investigate how slip and long-term deformation accumulate and interact at subduction zones during earthquake cycle. Including, 1. Explore the relationships between long-term strain accumulation and the seismic cycle. 2. Explore mechanisms that could explain how strain accumulation is modified in space and time by the presence of large asperities at the subduction interface.
Maureen A Walton
The title of Maureen's dissertation is "Tectonic and sedimentary processes of the southeast Alaska margin." She is a part of the St. Elias Erosion/Tectonics (STEEP) team at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, studying both structural and geologic processes in the southeast Gulf of Alaska. The first chapter of her work focuses on the deposition of the Baranof deep-sea fan, and the other chapters involve earthquake tectonics and large-scale strike-slip plate motion.
Jing  YangJing Yang
My Area of Expertise: Diamond Anvil Cells, Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction, Conventional X-ray Diffraction, Brillouin Light Spectroscopy, Impulsive Stimulated Light Scattering, Raman Spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Electron Probe Mircron-analyzer, Matlab Programming
Andrew  YankeAndrew Yanke
My current research interests focus on bridging the gap between rock physics (small scale) and large scale seismic attributes. This problem of scale necessitates an integrated understanding of rock physics models (i.e. both isotropic and anisotropic) and their affects on seismic wave propagation. In broader terms, my research hinges on forward and inverse modeling between subsurface rock properties and surface-seismic measurements (i.e. related to acoustic properties of the subsurface). This area of study ...
Graduate and undergraduate research in geologic sequestration of CO2 (Graduate or Undergraduate)
Gulf Coast Carbon Center supports a team of students and post docs working in geologic sequestration (deep subsurface long-duration storage) of the major greenhouse gas CO2, as a method to reduce release to the atmosphere. Student projects are wide ranging, from sedimentology to policy, linked in that they are 1) multidisciplinary and 2) applied to current issues. Students are typically jointly supervised by faculty in geology or petroleum geosystems engineering and staff at the GCCC. A class in geologic sequestration is offered in the fall some years.
Posted by: Susan Hovorka

Graduate research opportunities in computational seismology (Graduate)
Texas Consortium for Computational Seismology is looking for Ph.D. students interested in computational research. Our group works on a broad range of topics in exploration geophysics, from wave-equation seismic imaging and inversion to computational algorithms for seismic data processing and seismic interpretation. The work is supported by industrial sponsors. We use open-source software tools and high-performace computing resources.
Posted by: Sergey Fomel

High Resolution 3D marine seismic for fluid studies (Graduate)
Opportunities exist to become involved in the design, acquisition, processing, and interpretation of high-resolution 3D marine seismic data. Current applications include characterization for subsurface storage of carbon dioxide and natural fluid migration studies. We anticipate development into imaging modern systems as reservoir analogs.
Posted by: Timothy Meckel

Academic Seismic Portal at UTIGAcademic Seismic Portal at UTIG
The portal is the gateway to the Marine Seismic Data Center (MSDC). MSDC's goal is to support education and research with access to and preservation of academic active-source seismic data. Our partner, the Academic Seismic Portal at LDEO, has a complementary seismic inventory primarily of field data. These cooperating data centers, part of the Marine Geoscience Data System, are supported by the National Science Foundation.
Aerogeophysical DataAerogeophysical Data
The Institute for Geophysics shares data from a range of aerogephysical missions flown over Antarctica.
Aerogeophysical SystemsAerogeophysical Systems
UTIG has developed, maintained, and operated a suite of aerogeophysical instrumentation since the early 1990s with continual improvements since inception. The suite was installed aboard a Dehavilland DHC-6 ("Twin Otter") up to 2005 and aboard a Basler BT-67 (a version of DC-3T -- a Douglas DC-3 refitted with turboprop engines) since 2008. The current instruments are: High Capability Radar Sounder (HiCARS); Multibeam, Scanning Photon Counting Lidar; Cesium Vapor Magnetometer; Gravimeter; Dual-frequency, carrier-phase Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); Laser Altimeter; Two GPS-aided Inertial Measurement Units; Three-Axis Fluxgate Magnetometer; System Control, Data Acquisition, and Real-time QC and Monitoring functions.
Airborne Optech LIDAR SystemAirborne Optech LIDAR System
For fine-scale topographic mapping
Current Meter ArchiveCurrent Meter Archive
We take existing moored current meter data, process it using a handful of MatLab routines, and output one tarfile containing all the data in one standardized format. We have included here (v. 1) data from OSU (Buoy Group and Deep Water Archive) as well as 7 different smaller datasets obtained from Carl Wunsch.
Devine Geophysical Test SiteDevine Geophysical Test Site
The 100-acre Devine Test Site (DTS) is located less than 50 miles southwest of San Antonio, Texas, in Medina County, Texas. The site is managed by the Exploration Geophysics Laboratory (EGL), an Industrial Associate Program at the Bureau of Economic Geology. It is a state-of-the-art public-domain geophysical research facility for academia and industry donated to the university in 1998 by BP. The test site is used for surface-based seismic and potential-field experiments performed in conjunction with downhole and crosswell experiments.
Down-hole Technologies for Ocean DrillingDown-hole Technologies for Ocean Drilling
Researchers have engineered state-of-the-art equipment that facilitate the collection of down-hole measurements. These tools are: MDHDS - Motion De-Coupled Hydraulic Delivery System, a method for inserting penetrometers in borehole; T2P - Temperature 2 Pressure Probe, a penetrometer for measurement of pressure & temperature. See related website for more detail.
GeoMechanics Lab (BEG)GeoMechanics Lab (BEG)
In the GeoMechanics lab we study pore-scale sediment and fluid behavior. In this lab are components to make experimental specimens through resedimentation from either powdered sediment or extracted core material. Using the sediment, this lab can measure permeability and porosity with constant rate of strain experiments using any of our three load frames rated from 10,000 to 40,000 pounds or examine flow-through permeability and failure dynamics using a triaxial system. This lab is also capable of measuring permeability in tight gas shales using a series of Quizix pumps rated to 10,000 psi. The GeoMechanics lab is also spearheading the design of the ‘temperature 2 pressure’ (T2P) probe and a motion-decoupled hydraulic delivery system (MDHDS), a borehole tool capable of measuring in-situ temperature and pressure while de-coupled from the vessel and reporting data in real time. This probe will be deployed on an upcoming IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) expedition.
Geometrics GEODE Seismograph SystemsGeometrics GEODE Seismograph Systems
The Department has 2 boxes (total 48 Channels) with 48 vertical phones and 16 3 component phones).
Geophysical Equipment for GlaciologyGeophysical Equipment for Glaciology
We have a custom built, low-frequency, short-pulse, ground-based radar system to image deep (>100 m) internal layers and the base of the ice sheet. Frequencies used with this system include 1, 2, 5 and 10 MHz. We also have a GSSI high-frequency (100MHz) ground-based radar system which can be used in several configurations and with a range of antennae frequencies. In addition, we have 7 GNSS GPS units for high-precision positioning, as well as multiple data loggers and time-lapse cameras for use in glaciological settings.
Geophysical Log Facility
Geophysics SoftwareGeophysics Software
Landmark and Geoquest software is used for processing and interpreting 3 dimensional seismic data.
Hockley Seismic StationHockley Seismic Station
Part of the USGS Seismic Network, the Hockley Station vault is 472 meters below surface in a salt mine. Site Geology: Located in the Willis Formation that is made of clay, silt, sand, and minor siliceous gravel. Deposited in the lower Pleistocene and is approximately 200 feet thick.
Hydrogeophysical EquipmentHydrogeophysical Equipment
These tools include: 1) Electrical Resistivity Meter. The AGI SuperSting R8 IP is an 8-channel resistivity and induced polarization imaging system specially designed for large surveys where speed of data acquisition is of essence. Can be used for land applications with 6 m spacing, underwater applications with 2 m spacing, or boat-towed surveys with 1 to 5 m spacing. 2) Infrared Camera. The FLIR ThermaCAM SC640 is a high-resolution thermal infrared camera. The portable handheld radiometer (7.5 to 13 micron wavelength) takes images at 640x480 pixels at rates of down to 16 Hz. The precision of the camera is 0.08 C.
Ocean-Bottom Seismometer (OBS)Ocean-Bottom Seismometer (OBS)
An Ocean-Bottom Seismometer (OBS) is a seismometer that can be deployed on the seafloor for weeks or months, recording either earthquakes or man-made seismic signals. To withstand pressures at large depth (up to 5500 m) in the oceans, all electronics of this instrument are kept inside a glass sphere which can withstand such pressures. The sensors of all instruments (discussed below) include a 3-component accelerometer and a hydrophone, all designed for seismic data with a dominant frequency near 10 Hz. The seismic data are recorded on flash memory. Correct timing of the seismic recording is provided by an accurate clock, which also resides inside the sphere. After a seismic study on the seafloor is complete, the instrument is brought back to the sea surface using an acoustic release mechanism. UTIG has long been involved in marine seismology. The development of a UTIG OBS instrument program began in 1978.
Optec Laser Scanners (ILRIS)Optec Laser Scanners (ILRIS)
The Optec ILRIS Laser Scanners are part of the BEG RCRL/JSG consortium. They are state-of-the-art ground-based terrestrial laser scanning/mapping devices, that, when coupled with the Innovmetric Polyworks software, allows high-resolution mapping of earth-surface features,with accuracies of a few cm. These tools are part of the aresenal of tools that the RCRL uses to generate digital 3D earth models for carbonate reservoir analogs.
Portable Field MagnetometersPortable Field Magnetometers
Geometrics 856 Proton Precession Magnetometer
Portable GravimetersPortable Gravimeters
We own two instruments: (1) LaCoste-Romberg G meter (precision ~50 microGals), and (2) ZLS Burris gravimeter (precision ~5 microGals).
Portable High-Resolution Multichannel Seismic System (MCS)Portable High-Resolution Multichannel Seismic System (MCS)
UTIG owns and maintains elements of a self-contained, portable, high resolution multichannel seismic (MCS) system that has been used over the past several years in salt- and fresh-water depths from ~4m to over 1km, on vessels from 10m to 35m in length. The 24-channel system is designed to be transported worldwide and to be installed on vessels of opportunity. Survey design, navigation, data acquisition, and near real-time MCS processing can be performed on non-dedicated laptops in the field. Deployment and recovery of gear is done by hand, requiring as few as 3 persons. The only constraints on the system are weight limits of the vessel and electrical requirements of the dedicated air compressors. For platforms with insufficient electrical capabilities, a fuel-powered generator or air compressor can be rented as a substitute.
Portable SeismometersPortable Seismometers
Broad-band Guralp seismographs for regional studies of the crust and mantle
R/V Lake ItascaR/V Lake Itasca
UTIG owns and operates a 22' aluminum hulled research vessel, the R/V Lake Itasca. The Itasca is a custom built hull powered by twin 115 HP Honda outboard engines equipped with hydraulic steering. The vessel is equipped with a starboard side davit (Fig. 5) that has been used to deploy a variety of water column gear including CTDs, grab samplers, gravity corers, isokinetic water samplers and niskin bottle samplers. Generally the vessel operates in survey mode with a maximum of 3-5 persons onboard. The vessel is equipped with rack mounts that contain a Reson Seabat multibeam system. Other acoustic devices that have been towed by the Itasca include the UTIG CHIRP subbottom profiler, sidescan sonars, and acoustic Doppler current profilers. The R/V Lake Itasca has been used throughout the Gulf of Mexico in rivers, estuaries and the inner shelf in calm seas. It has also been transported as far afield as British Columbia (Fraser River). The vessel can be shipped worldwide in a standard shipping container.
Scanning Electron Microscope Lab (DGS)Scanning Electron Microscope Lab (DGS)
Installed in 2008, this is a high-performance, 30 kV tungsten gun scanning electron microscope with a high resolution of 3.0 nm. The low vacuum mode allows for observation of specimens which cannot be viewed at high vacuum due to a non-conductive surface. This SEM has three detector systems - secondary electron (SE), backscattered electron (BSE), and X-ray EDS detectors.
Sonar Seafloor Mapping SystemsSonar Seafloor Mapping Systems
The Institute maintains two sonar systems for seafloor mapping: 1) The Reson Seabat 7101 (aka 'WANDA') multibeam sonar. 2) The Edgetech 272-TD sidescan sonar¬a towed instrument that operates at either 100 kHz or 500 kHz. The 272-TD towfish is lightweight enough so that it can be deployed by one person, which makes this system ideal for use from smaller boats or ones where an onboard handling system is not available. We utilize a Coda Geosurvey DA500 acquisition unit (
Sub-Bottom Profiling SystemsSub-Bottom Profiling Systems
UTIG owns and maintains an integrated sonar system for use in conducting Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse (CHIRP) subbottom profiling of the upper sediment layers of the ocean bottom or various fresh water systems. The 3200-XS system was purchased in 2007 from Edgetech Corp. of West Wareham, MA (see and can be deployed in water depths from ~2 m to >300 m with an optimum towing height of 3-5 m above seafloor. Deployment and recovery of the towfish can be done by shipboard winches for shallower deployments or a larger UTIG-owned Electro-Hydraulic winch. Constraints on vessel size are dependent on shipboard winches capability of handling either the large (190kg SB-512i) or small (76 kg SB-216S) towfish. Power control, navigation, video display, data acquisition and data storage are all performed by one topside processing unit. The system can be powered by 18-36 VDC or 110/240 VAC (auto-ranging). The system is presently comprised of: 3200-XS topside computer processor, 4-transducer SB-512i towfish, 1-transducer SB-216s towfish, electro-hydraulic winch with 500 m of armored tow cable, 3 shallow water tow cables of 10, 25, and 50 m length, GPS navigation system.
Superconducting Gravimeter LabSuperconducting Gravimeter Lab
A GWR superconducting gravimeter (precision ~0.01 micrGals) configured to be transportable, used in hydrologic and other studies. This is usually deployed in the field for campaigns of months and longer.
Trimble Real Time Kinematic System
The Trimble RTK GPS system is a real-time kinematically corrected GPS surveying tool that allows mapping resolution of within a few cm in X, Y, and Z,so substantially more accurate than any standard hand-held GPS unit that has a vertical error commonly of several meters. This is part of the arsenal of tools that the RCRL uses to generate digital 3D earth models for carbonate reservoir analogs.
Vibroseis Seismic SourcesVibroseis Seismic Sources
For both low and high frequency 3-axis shaking. These are managed through the NSF facility in Civil Engineering. Clark Wilson is a co-PI of this and they have used one of them to support a geophysics field camp last summer.
Center for Computational Geosciences & Optimization
The Center for Computational Geosciences and Optimization addresses modeling of the solid and fluid earth systems, with emphasis on large scale simulation and inversion on supercomputers. Problems of interest include forward and inverse modeling of regional and global seismic wave propagation, mantle convection, atmospheric and subsurface contaminant transport, ocean dynamics, and flow in porous media. Research in the CCGO is conducted jointly with collaborators from the Jackson School of Geosciences, other ICES centers, the College of Engineering, the Department of Computer Sciences, other universities including Carnegie Mellon, Penn, MIT, Columbia, and Emory, and Sandia National Labs. Related inverse and optimization problems in the mechanical and biomedical engineering sciences are also being pursued.
EDGER Forum (Exploration & Development Geophysics Education & Research)
The Edger Forum is a consortium of industry participants sponsoring Education & Research in Exploration Geophysical Technology.
Exploration Geophysics
The Exploration Geophysics Laboratory (EGL) develops a wide range of technologies using all components of the seismic wavefield, including seismic field-recording techniques, data-processing and data-interpretation procedures, for improved reservoir characterization and prospect evaluation.
Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation
The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) is a national, networked, simulation resource that includes geographically-distributed, shared-use, next-generation experimental research Equipment Sites built and operated to advance earthquake engineering research and education through collaborative and integrated experimentation, theory, data archiving, and model-based simulation. The goal of NEES is to accelerate progress in earthquake engineering research and to improve the seismic design and performance of civil and mechanical infrastructure systems through the integration of people, ideas, and tools in a collaboratory environment. Open access to and use of NEES research facilities and data by all elements of the earthquake engineering community, including researchers, educators, students, practitioners, and information technology experts, is a key element of this goal.
A program of research into plate tectonics and geologic reconstructions, the PLATES Project is supported by an industry consortium. Our primary objectives are to model past and present plate movement, compile comprehensive databases, develop plate motion computer software and apply plate motion models.
Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory
The Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory (RCRL) seeks to use outcrop and subsurface geologic and petrophysical data from carbonate reservoir strata as the basis for developing new and integrated methodologies to better understand and describe the 3-D reservoir environment.
Texas Consortium for Computational Seismology
The mission of the Texas Consortium for Computational Seismology is to address the most important and challenging research problems in computational geophysics as experienced by the energy industry while educating the next generation of research geophysicists and computational scientists.

Affiliated UT Programs & Centers

Center for Space Research
The University of Texas at Austin, Center for Space Research was established in 1981 under the direction of Dr. Byron D. Tapley. The mission of the Center is to conduct research in orbit determination, space geodesy, the Earth and its environment, exploration of the solar system, as well as expanding the scientific applications of space systems data.
Texas Advanced Computing Center
The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the leading centers of computational excellence in the United States. Located on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, the center's mission is to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies.

Collecting depth profiles at the Poza Verde Posted by Marcus Gary

Photos of research of the Sistema Zacaton karst area

Collecting depth profiles at the Poza VerdeStaging for a dive at CaracolDEPTHX being lowered into El Zacaton.Sheck Exley and Jim Bowden after discovering Zacaton was deep.Camping area at La Pilita.Deploying a decompression system for dive exploration.Aerial view of El Zacaton (left) and the resurgence of Nacimiento.Poza Verde with the Miocene granitic peak of Granadillas in the background.Floating islands are called El ZacatonEl Zacaton


automatic faults, unconformity, horizon, and salt boundaries Posted by Xinming Wu

3D automatic interpretation of seismic faults, unconformities, horizons, and salt boundaries.

automatic faults, unconformity, horizon, and salt boundaries


fault throws and unfaulting Posted by Xinming Wu

Automatic estimating fault throws and removing faulting in seismic images

fault throws and unfaulting


Automatic interpretation of unconformity surfaces Posted by Xinming Wu

Automatic interpretation of unconformity surfaces

Automatic interpretation of unconformity surfaces


Automatic interpretation of fault surfaces Posted by Xinming Wu

Automatic interpretation of fault surfaces

Automatic interpretation of fault surfaces


Automatic interpretation of all horizons in a 3D seismic image Posted by Xinming Wu

Automatic interpretation of all horizons from a 3D seismic image

Automatic interpretation of all horizons in a 3D seismic image


3D subsurface modeling Posted by Xinming Wu

Automatically building 3D subsurface models that conform to well-log measurements, seismic structures, and seismic stratigraphic features.

3D subsurface modeling


automatic salt boundaries Posted by Xinming Wu

Automatic interpretation of salt boundaries

automatic salt boundaries


automatic multiple well-seismic ties Posted by Xinming Wu

Simultaneously tie multiple wells to real seismic traces

automatic multiple well-seismic ties