Our research program is working to make the Jackson School of Geosciences one of the world's leading centers for planetary research. Scientists in the planetary theme are exploring geology across the solar system, with special emphasis on the Moon, Earth, Mars, asteroids, and icy satellites. JSG researchers combine mission involvement, data analysis, theoretical work, and terrestrial analog field investigations to advance the cutting edge of planetary geosciences, astrobiology, and solar system exploration.
Research in the Planetary Sciences theme focuses on the following subthemes:
Research in the Planetary Sciences theme focuses on the following subthemes:
Faculty & Research Scientists
|William A Ambrose|
Sedimentology, subsurface mapping of clastic depositional systems, oil and gas production analysis, coalbed methane
|Jaime D Barnes|
Stable isotope geochemistry, metamorphism and volatile transport in subduction zones, fluid-rock interaction and metasomatism, geochemical cycling, stable chlorine isotopes
|Donald D Blankenship|
Antarctic ice sheets, robotic space missions to Europa, airborne and ground-based geophysical techniques (including laser altimetry, radar sounding, seismic reflection and refraction), West Antarctic rift system, West Antarctic Ice Sheet, climate change, global warming, remote sensing
|William D Carlson|
Field, analytical, and experimental studies of metamorphic petrogenesis, with emphasis on the rates and mechanisms of metamorphic reactions. Geological applications of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography. Analytical and computational studies of intracrystalline and intergranular diffusion.
|Robert L Folk|
Sedimentary Petrology. studying mineralogy and nannobiology of hot springs in Italy, the role of nannobacteria in creating carbonate rocks. work on cherts, opals, sulfides of iron and other metals, and metal oxides, nannobacteria in martian meteorites and weathering of igneous rocks by nannobacteria under a variety of conditions in Tahiti, West Texas, and Lombardia, Italy.
Seismology, deep earthquakes, Texas earthquakes, moonquakes, statistical analysis of earthquake catalogs
|James E Gardner|
Volcanology, volcanic eruption processes, magmatic processes, experimental petrology, volatiles in magmas, degassing of volatiles from magmas, control of degassing behavior on volcanic eruptions and formation of ore bodies
|Sean S Gulick|
Studies of convergent margins to examine tectonic influences, structural deformation, fluid flow, and earthquake hazards; imaging and geologic sampling of in situ tectonic and crater laboratories: microplates, triple junctions, transitional plate boundaries, and bolide impacts; and quantitative high-resolution marine geological and geophysical studies of tectonic and climate interactions on glaciated orogenic margins.
|Romy D Hanna|
Planetary geology, remote sensing, thermal infrared and VISNIR spectroscopy, high-resolution x-ray computed tomography, 3D image analysis and processing, scientific computing
|Mark A Helper|
Dr. Helper is a field geologist, a generalist whose interests span igneous and metamorphic petrology, structural geology, tectonics, mineralogy and planetary field geology. His current research explores geochemical and isotopic similarities of Proterozoic and Archean crust in East Antarctica and the southwestern U.S., the Precambrian geology of Texas, and the origin of epidote blueschists in the Klamath Mountains of northern California. Recent senior honors theses under his supervision have examined the mineralogy of Texas ...
Mars ice and paleoclimate, Antarctica, glaciers, airborne and orbital geophysics, hydrogeophysics, paleomagnetism
|Martin P Jackson|
Salt tectonics, diapirism, tectonics of sedimentary basins, structural analysis of experimental models, reflection seismic.
|Eric W James|
Isotope geochemistry, igneous petrology, analytical chemistry
|Richard A Ketcham|
High-resolution X-ray computed tomography, CT scanning, 3D image analysis, fission-track dating, thermochronology, structural geology, tectonics, digital morphology, trabecular bone
Quantitative stratigraphy, Shoreline dynamics, Morphodynamcis, Sediment transport, Deltaic sedimentation, River delta restoration, Coupled mathematical modeling and experimental stratigraphy.
|Gary A Kocurek|
Sedimentology, geomorphology and stratigraphy of aeolian systems; fluid flow and grain transport; bedform dynamics and pattern evolution of dune fields; the stratigraphic record of aeolian and related systems on Earth and Mars.
|John C Lassiter|
Earth's origin and evolution, isotope and trace element geochemistry, the role of crust and lithospheric mantle recycling in the generation of mantle chemical heterogeneity, the origin and distribution of water and other volatile elements in the Earth's interior, and the thermal and chemical evolution of the Earth's core and core/mantle boundary
Permafrost, Antarctica, Planetary geology, Mars, Geomorphology, Remote Sensing, GIS
Mineral physics, physics and chemistry of planetary materials, solid-Earth geophysics and geochemistry, high-pressure diamond anvil cell, X-ray and laser spectroscopy
Structural geology, tectonics, deformation processes in the upper continental crust, folds, faults, opening-mode fractures, fluid flow through fracture systems, applications of fractals, natural hazards
Sedimentary Geology, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Geomorphology, Rivers, Deltas, Coastlines, Submarine Channels, Geohazards, Sediment-Gravity Currents, Sediment Transport, Seismic Interpretation, Basin Analysis
|Lorena G Moscardelli|
Geophysics, lunar and planetary seismology, ocean-bottom seismometry
|Timothy B Rowe|
Vertebrate paleontology, evolution and development of the vertebrate skeleton, phylogenetic systematics, the early history of mammals and their extinct relatives among Synapsida, the history of birds and their extinct relatives among Dinosauria, the history of other amniotes, high-resolution X-ray computed tomography, CT scanner, DigiMorph, informatics
|Clark R Wilson|
Geophysics, including gravity, space geodesy, and applied seismology
|Lesli J Wood|
Outcrop analysis of clastic systems architecture and sequence stratigraphy; seismic geomorphology and sedimentology of clastic systems; tectonics and sedimentation of active margin basins; shallow hydrocarbon features and shale diapirism; remotely sensed study (lidar, 2-D, 3-D and multicomponent seismic multibeam bathymetry and sonar) of clastic depositional systems.
Electron microbeam and X-ray techniques, mantle mineralogy and petrology, environmental mineralogy, nuclear waste management, and materials science.
|Lada L Dimitrova|
|Krista M Soderlund|
Astrobiology, Cryosphere, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Magnetohydrodynamics, Planetary Science
|Joseph A Macgregor|
glaciology, radar, geophysics
|Nathaniel R Miller|
Sedimentary geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, Earth system evolution, Q-ICP-MS, microanalytics, GIS, Neoproterozoic climate
|Britney E Schmidt|
Europa, Vesta, Pallas, Ceres, small bodies, icy moons, rotational dynamics
|Duncan A Young|
Ice-rock physical interactions in an ice cap context, tectonic evolution of the younger planetary crusts
|Thomas C Brothers|
My research focuses on the interpretation of remotely sensed data to investigate the surface geomorphology and subsurface stratigraphic record of planetary bodies. I make extensive use of orbital radar soundings, high resolution satellite imagery, and digital elevation models. My research involves processing, interpreting and integrating observations from multiple types of remotely sensed data in collaboration with other researchers to deduce the evolution of planetary surfaces. Throughout my dissertation, my research has been focused on applying ...
|Mackenzie D Day|
|Isaac B Smith|
|Graduate Student Position in Mineral Physics Lab (Graduate)|
The mineral physics lab at the Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for graduate student positions towards a Master's or Ph.D. degree in mineral physics. The Jackson School of Geosciences has exceptionally well-funded research programs and offers a number of scholarships to support graduate students for an extended period of time. Candidates with strong background and/or interest in physics (solid state physics), math, and geophysics/geochemistry are strongly encouraged to apply. Our mineral physics research programs focuses on high pressure-temperature experimental studies on materials properties using synchrotron X-ray and optical spectroscopies in a diamond anvil cell. Information about the graduate student programs at the Jackson School is available at: http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/. Please contact Dr. Jung-Fu Lin at email@example.com for further information.
Posted by: Jung-Fu Lin
|Mars Ice and Paleoclimate (Graduate)|
I am seeking one or two graduate students beginning in the 2012-13 academic year to conduct research in Mars paleoclimate using orbital radar sounding combined with high-resolution image and morphological analysis to study the internal stratigraphy of polar layered ice deposits and to map and characterize buried, mid-latitude glacial deposits. Students will participate in the SHARAD radar sounder instrument team on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, an active NASA mission. Support is available through NASA research grants.
Posted by: John Holt
|General Opportunities in Field and Laboratory Based Studies (Graduate or Undergraduate)|
My position does not permit sole supervision of graduate student theses, but I co-supervise or serve on graduate student theses committees, particularly those involving aspects of GIS, GPS, structural geology, tectonics and petrology/mineralogy. I have supervised several undergraduate student honors thesis, both lab- and field-based, and look forward to continuing to do so.
Posted by: Mark Helper
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 System|
For fine-scale topographic mapping
|Digital Morphology Library|
The Digital Morphology library (www.digimorph.org) is a National Science Foundation-funded initiative offering 2D and 3D visualizations of the internal and external structure of living and extinct vertebrates, and a growing number of non-vertebrates. Images are generated using the world's first high-resolution X-ray CT scanner in an academic science department, in the CT lab at the Jackson School.
|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.
There are several aspects to our laboratory that make it different from others. One is our automatic handler system created at California Institute of Technology and adapted for our needs. Scientists and students can keep up with changes to our system by keeping in touch with the other 6 similar systems in the world and RAPID Consortium at http://rapid.gps.caltech.edu/. It also includes a cryogenic magnetometer and portable magnetic susceptibility meter (TerraPlus KT-10 Plus).
|UT Sediment Transport and Earth-surface Processes (STEP) Basin|
The STEP Basin is an experimental flume designed to physically model morphodynamic and stratigraphic evolution of the fluviodeltaic system. It is 4 m wide, 5 m long, and 1.5 m tall. This facility is one of only three in the world with a computer-controlled basement motion, which can mimic 1) fore-hinge (passive margin), 2) back-hinge (foreland basin), and 3) lateral tilting subsidence patterns.
|Walter Geology Library|
The primary research collections of the library presently include more than 100,000 book and journal volumes and 46,000 geologic maps, among them the publications of the U.S. Geological Survey, most state geological surveys, and those of many foreign countries. Regional emphasis of the collection is on the Southwestern United States, Texas, and Mexico. The Institute and Bureau also have extensive libraries related to their specific research areas.
|Wind Tunnel/Flume Lab|
The Department of Geological Sciences maintains two wind tunnels for experiments in aeolian transport. One tunnel (0.5 m2 X 10 m) features a long transport section that ends in a slipface. The second tunnel features a rotating table (1 m in diameter) that can be used to simulate any range of wind directions.
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.
|Jack Holt's Research Group|
Our research group is comprised of graduate students, undergraduates, technical staff and visiting students all focused on understanding both the current state of Mars ice and processes governing the distribution, history, and role of ice in Mars climate evolution. Our primary tool is orbital radar sounding, a technique that is relatively new for Mars, and for planetary exploration in general. Two radar sounders, MARSIS and SHARAD, are currently in orbit at Mars. Due to Dr. Holt's role as a Co-Investigator on SHARAD, we are very busy with the acquisition and analysis of new data. Building on UTIG's extensive experience in airborne radar sounding of ice on Earth, we have developed new analysis techniques specifically for SHARAD that give us unique capabilities and put us at the forefront of this exciting field.