Dr. Elizabeth Catlos is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Geological Sciences in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Fellow, a recipient of the Donath Medal (Young Scientist Award), and an elected Councilor of the Geological Society of America. As a Senior Lecturer for the U.S. Dept. of State's Fulbright Program, she taught introductory geosciences, mineralogy and petrography courses in the Dept. of Geological Engineering at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. She served as a lead PI on a NSF-International Research Experiences for Students program in Turkey that provided American and Turkish students an opportunity to conduct hands-on field training in geophysical surveying, field mapping, GPS mapping, sampling, and provided them the tools necessary to make geochemical and petrologic observations. Her field areas are in Turkey, the Himalayas, south India, and Slovakia. Since 2010 she has been a Lead Instructor for GeoFORCE, a Jackson School of Geosciences' Education program that rewards outstanding students from select South Texas Independent School Districts and Houston schools from grades 8-12.

Areas of Expertise

The geological evolution of the Turkey (various regions), Himalayas (India and Nepal), south India (Tamil Nadu), and Slovakia (Carpathians); models for heat, mass, and fluid flow along tectonic structures; developing techniques for isotopic microanalysis; applying mineral equilibria to estimate environmental conditions during dynamic recrystallization; accessory mineral geochronology; stone decay and deformation mechanisms. Overall, I am interested in developing and applying petrochemical and geochemical techniques to the study of lithosphere dynamics.


Research Locations



Current Research Programs & Projects

Understanding migration of CO2-rich fluids in deformed carbonates within an active strike-slip fault zone

Documenting the Role and Presence of Fluids in Biga Peninsula Granites: Western Turkey

Relationships between very high pressure subduction complex assemblages and intrusive granitoids in central Anatolia

Deciphering the dynamics of the Simav Fault in western Turkey

U.S.-Turkey collaboration on the gabbro-dike transition of Turkish ophiolites

Deciphering the tectonomagmatic evolution of granites in the High Tatra Mountains (Slovakia)

Monazite from the Llallagua tin ore deposit in Bolivia

Geochemistry and geochronology of meta-igneous rocks from the Tokat Massif, north-central Turkey: Implications for Tethyan reconstructions

Linking microcracks and mineral zoning of detachment-exhumed granites (western) Turkey to their tectonomagmatic history

Evidence of polymetamorphic garnet growth within the Southern Menderes Massif, western Turkey

Short-term water saturation experiments on limestone tiles to evaluate degradation and alteration

Origin of Himalayan anatexis and inverted metamorphism

Windows into the lower to middle crust in the Southern Granulite Terrain, South India

Phengite-Based Chronology of K- and Ba-Rich Fluid Flow in Two Paleosubduction Zones

Use of tourmaline as an index mineral in the Himalaya


Notable Paper for Catlos (2013, in press) "Generalizations about monazite: Implications for geochronologic studies" American Mineralogist - Mineralogical Society of America (2013)

Texas Exes Teaching Award - Texas Exes (2011)

Fulbright Lecturing Award - Fulbright (2008 - 2009)

Donald D. Harrington Fellowship - University of Texas at Austin (2007 - 2008)

Fellow of the Geological Society of America - Geological Society of America (2007)

Outstanding Reviewer - Geological Society of America Bulletin (2006)

Junior Faculty Award - Oklahoma State University (2006)

Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal) - Geological Society of America (2006)

Fellow - Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics (2000)

Predoctoral Fellowship - Smithsonian Institution (1997)

Predoctoral Fellowship - Smithsonian Institution (1997)

Summer Research Fellowship - NASA Specialized Center for Research and Training in Exobiology (1994)

Councilor, Geological Society of America Council, Geological Society of America (2013)

Standing Review Board Member, Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer-Mass Spectrometer (MOMA-MS), Mars Program Office (MPO) Intake/Entrance Review, NASA (2013)

Leader, Workshop for Early Career Geoscience Faculty, On the Cutting Edge (2013)

Reviewer, Review of the Faculty Activities Report electronic system, UT Austin (2013)

Reviewer, Selection Committee for Faculty-Led Programs for Summer Abroad, UT Austin (2013)

Chair, South Central Section Management Board, Geological Society of America (2013)

Presenter, Event to promote STEM education/careers for girls through Earth Science education, GirlTalk (2013)

Vice Chair, South Central Section Management Board, Geological Society of America (2012 - 2013)

Co-Chair, GSA Annual Meeting Session 207 Advances in Mineralogy and Petrology, Geological Society of America (2012)

Undergraduate Advisor, Dept. Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences (2012)

Lead Science Instructor, 10th Grade Arizona GeoForce Field Trip, GeoForce (2012)

Reviewer, Committee to interview and mentor UT students applying for the Fulbright Study Abroad program, UT Austin (2012)

Undergraduate Advisor, Environmental Science program, Environmental Science Institute-Dept. Geol. Sciences (2012)

Lead Science Instructor, 10th Grade Arizona GeoForce Field Trip, GeoForce (2011)

Reviewer, Committee to interview and mentor UT students applying for the Fulbright Study Abroad program, UT Austin (2011)

Panel Member, Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist Review, NASA (2011)

Independent Review Team Member, Independent Review of the MOMA - Laser Desorption Mass Spectrometer (LDMS), NASA (2010)

Invited participant, Workshop Planning Activity to highlight best practices that integrate across multiple dimensions of university internationalization, particularly in science and engineering areas, NSF-Office of International Science and Engineering (2010)

Expert Witness, 93rd Judicial District, Hidalgo Country, Texas, Griffith and Garza, L.L.P. (2010)

Panel Member, Astrobiology Science & Technology for Exploring Planets, NASA (2010)

Lead Science Instructor, 10th Grade Arizona GeoForce Field Trip, GeoForce (2010)

Reviewer, Committee to interview and mentor UT students applying for the Fulbright Study Abroad program, UT Austin (2010)

Board Member, South Central Section Management Board, Geological Society of America (2009 - 2012)

Campus Representative, Campus Representative for the Fulbright Program for the University of Texas, Austin, Fulbright (2009)

Vice President, Austin Chapter of the Fulbright Alumni Association, Fulbright Alumni Association (2009)

Panel Member, Review of instruments Urey: Mars Organic and Oxidant Detector and Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA), NASA (2007)

Panel Member, Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program, NASA (2007)

Co-Chair, Fall AGU Meeting, Extensional Tectonics in the Basin and Range Province of North America and the Aegean Region of Eastern Europe and Western Anatolia Session, American Geophysical Union (2007)

Co-Chair, GSA Annual Meeting Session T53 Teaching Instrumentation to Geoscience Students: Course Design, Objectives, and Presentations, Geological Society of America (2006)

Co-Chair, Fall AGU Meeting, Post-Collisional Extension Session, American Geophysical Union (2006)

Lead Science Reviewer, Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program, NASA (2005)

Lead Science Reviewer, Mars Science Laboratory/Sample Analysis at Mars, NASA (2005)

Panel Member, Interdisciplinary Exploration Science Review, NASA (2005)

Co-Chair, Fall AGU Meeting, Extensional Tectonics and Metamorphic Core Complexes: Their Metamorphic, Petrographic, and Kinematic Evolution Session, American Geophysical Union (2005)

Co-Chair, GSA Annual Meeting Session T87 Recent Advances in Himalayan Geology, Geological Society of America (2004)

Panel Member, Mars Science Laboratory Panel, NASA (2004)

Panel Member, Mars Instrumentation and Development Panel, NASA (2003)

Panel Member, Tectonics Panel, National Science Foundation (2002)

Co-Chair, GSA Annual Meeting Session 6 Metamorphic Petrology I, Geological Society of America (2001)

Co-Chair, Fall AGU Meeting, Thermal Structure of Tibetan and Himalayan Lithosphere: Implications for Geodynamic Models of the India-Asia Collision Session, American Geophysical Union (1999)

Graduate Students

Timothy A Shin, M.S., expected 2013
Expertise: Tectonics and Structural Geology, Thermo-/Geochronology, Petrology, and Geochemistry. I am interested in crustal and lithospheric dynamics and how they affect our environment and planet. I like to combine field-based geological, structural, and petrological observations with geo-/thermo- chonometric and geochemical analyses to elucidate the fundamental processes that drive the tectonics that have and continue to shape our world and resources. I am interested in a range of problems from extensional to contractional tectonics and their influence on geology and geochemistry. I am also deeply interested in the application of geological techniques to other bodies in the solar system. I currently am working on a field-based research project looking at how critical low-angle normal faulting in the Aegean back arc is to exhumation of high-pressure metamorphic rocks in a metamorphic core complex and the structural dynamics associated with Miocene extension in Greece. Focused on the islands of Andros and Tinos, this research is based on macro- and micro-structural analysis of brittle and ductile structures in metamorphic rocks and discovering the spatio-temporal evolution of those structures with geo-/thermo-chronological dating and geochemistry. I am using detrital zircon U-Pb dating on LA-ICP-MS, in situ U-Pb dating of zircon on SIMS, and zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He low-temperature thermochronology.

Kate Atakturk, M.S., expected 2014
Understanding metamorphic core complexes in western Turkey through petrological, geochemical, and geochronologic work. Focus on metamorphic petrology and studying garnets to identify the pressure, temperature, and crystallization timing recorded by metamorphic rocks. Using data to construct structural interpretation of the region's formation.

Karen Black, M.S., 2012, University of Texas at Austin
Karen Black completed her Master's Thesis in 2012 (Geochemical and Geochronological Relationships between Granitoid Plutons of the Biga Peninsula, NW Turkey). She conducted fieldwork in Turkey in 2011 and used the UCLA ion microprobe to date zircon grains in situ in the rocks. To understand the meaning of the ages, she used cathodoluminescence equipment in the Bureau of Economic Geology and Dept. of Geological Sciences here in the Jackson School. The goal of the research was to obtain ages from the plutons, which are thought to record large-scale extension in the Biga Peninsula. The region is located in close proximity to the Aegean Sea. She published her finding to the journal Lithos. She is currently employed by Core Labs in Houston. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 0937254) with additional funding provided by the Jackson School of Geosciences.

Kathryn Huber, 2011, University of Texas at Austin
Katie completed her Master's Thesis in 2011, titled "Geochemistry and geochronology of meta-igneous rocks from the Tokat Massif, north-central Turkey." She collected highly-altered meta-igneous rocks from a region in north-central Turkey that records the closure of two ancient oceans. The goal of the research was to directly date the samples to determine their sources and ages, and to develop a model for metamorphism and deformation in this region. She dated tiny zircon and baddeleyite grains using the UCLA ion microprobe. The results have been incorporated into a manuscript published in the International Journal of Earth Sciences. She is employed by Statoil. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 0937254) with additional funding provided by the Jackson School of Geosciences.

Lauren Jacob, M.S., 2011, University of Texas at Austin
Lauren graduated with her Master's degree in 2011. Her thesis is titled: "Remote Sensing, Geochemistry, Geochronology, and Cathodoluminescence Imaging of the Egrigoz, Koyunoba, and Alacam Plutons, Northern Menderes Massif, Turkey." She conducted fieldwork in the northern Menderes Massif in western Turkey in 2010, and dated zircons in the rocks using the UCLA ion microprobe. She spent the rest of that summer imaging the samples using CL equipment in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. The goal of her project was to date these different granite bodies to determine their relationship to each other, to a major fault in the Northern Menderes Massif region, and their tectonic history. The work was published in 2012 in the American Journal of Science. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 0937254) with additional funding provided by the Jackson School of Geosciences. Lauren is currently employed by Apache Corporation in Houston.

Courteney Baker, M.S., 2009, Oklahoma State University
Courteney was a student of mine when I was at Oklahoma State University and her thesis is titled: "Timing Extension in the Menderes Massif in Western Turkey Using Electron Microprobe, Ion Microprobe and Cathodoluminescence." She was also supervised by Dr. Anna Cruse. Her project involved dating monazite from two detachment-exhumed granites in western Turkey to determine the timing of extension in the region. She conducted fieldwork in Turkey and performed analytical work at here in the Jackson School and at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. The work has been incorporated into papers published by Tectonophysics, Journal of Structural Geology, and Mineralogia. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 0937254) with additional funding provided by Oklahoma State University, the Suzanne Takken Memorial Award, and the Jackson School of Geosciences. She is currently employed by Devon Energy.

Cenk Ozerdem, M.S., 2004, Oklahoma State University
Cenk was my graduate student when I was at Oklahoma State University. His thesis is titled: "Thermobarometric constraints on the Evolution of the Menderes Massif (western Turkey): Insights into the Metamorphic History of a Complexly-deformed Region." He generated peak pressures and temperatures from garnet-bearing rocks collected from a large-scale metamorphic core complex in western Turkey to understand the tectonic history of the region. His work has been incorporated into a paper in the journal Mineralogia and as part of a Special Paper published by the Geological of Society of America. We collaborated on a Lab Manual for the course Earth Materials taught here in the Jackson School (Kendall Hunt Publishers). He is currently employed by Astaldi SpA in Istanbul, Turkey.


Undergraduate Students

Lindsey German (Honors Research; Using ArcGIS to decipher the dynamics of the 2011 Simav Earthquake)
Tyson McKinney (NSF-Research Experiences for Undergraduates: Evolution of the Precambrian rocks of Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas)
Pamela Speciale (Honors Research; Investigating the geochronology and geochemistry of Beypazari granites; central Turkey)


Invited Seminar, Louisiana State University, Dept. Geological Sciences, (2013)

Invited Seminar, Undergraduate Geological Society, UT Austin, Dept. Geological Sciences, (2011)

Invited Seminar, Pennsylvania State University, Geosciences Department (departmental talk), (2010)

Invited Seminar, Pennsylvania NASA Space Grant Consortium (general talk to broader community), (2010)

Invited Seminar, University of Arkansas, Department of Geology, (2008)

Invited Seminar, Texas Earth Science Revolution program, Austin, TX (2008)

Invited Seminar, Yale University, Department of Geology and Geophysics, (2007)

Invited Seminar, University of Michigan, Department of Geological Sciences, (2007)

Invited Seminar, UT Austin Jackson School of Earth Sciences, (2007)

Invited Seminar, Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, Department of Geosciences, (2006)

Invited Seminar, San Francisco State University, Department of Geology, (2005)

Invited Seminar, University of Houston, Department of Geosciences, (2005)

Invited Seminar, University of Missouri-Columbia, Dept. of Geological Sciences, (2005)

Invited Seminar, Utah State University, Department of Geology, (2004)

Invited Seminar, University of Kansas, Department of Geology, (2004)

Invited Seminar, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Department of Geosciences, (2004)

Invited Seminar, UT Dallas, Department of Geosciences, (2004)

Invited Seminar, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Department of Geology Seminar Series, (2003)

Invited Seminar, UT Austin, Jackson School of Earth Sciences, (2003)

Invited Seminar, Arkansas-Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, (2002)

Invited Seminar, Oklahoma State University-Phillips Petroleum, Electron Microprobe Presentation, (2002)

Invited Seminar, Kansas State University, Department of Geology, (2002)

Invited Seminar, University of Kansas, Department of Geology, (2002)

Invited Seminar, University of Oklahoma, School of Geology and Geophysics, (2002)

Invited Seminar, University of California, Riverside, Dept. of Earth Science, (2001)

Invited Seminar, Florida State University; Dept. Geological Sciences; 2 talks, (2001)

Invited Seminar, Oklahoma State University; Boone Pickens School of Geology, (2001)