The main focus of my research is salt tectonics, particularly kinematic models for evolution and growth of salt structures. This interest began upon my arrival at Exxon Production Research in 1989, when I was informed that I would be the company’s new expert on salt tectonics despite the fact that I was almost completely unfamiliar with the topic. The learning curve was quite steep at first, but as time passed I became progressively more enamored with salt deformation. After a 3-year stint teaching structural geology at Baylor University, I moved to Austin in 2000 to join the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory, an industry-funded research consortium studying salt tectonics. I have been codirector of the consortium since 2002.

My current research is focused on three topics. First, I am investigating the influence of basement structure and basement reactivation on salt tectonics, especially on passive margins in Brazil, West Africa, and the Gulf of Mexico. Second, I am interested in the emplacement and deformation of allochthonous salt sheets and canopies, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, Martin Jackson and I are in the process of writing a textbook on salt tectonics and the seismic interpretation of salt structures.

Areas of Expertise

Salt tectonics, 3-D computer modeling, kinematic models for evolution and growth of salt structures, structural geology, cross-section restoration and balancing, seismic interpretation


Research Locations



Member, Initiative Review Committee, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin (2005)

Member, Endowment Committee, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin (2005 - 2006)

Leader, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2003)

Chair, Associate Director for Environmental Research Search Committee, Bureau of Economic Geology (2003 - 2004)

Member, Program Advisory Committee, Gulf Coast Section--Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists (2002 - 2004)

Member, Information Distribution System Task Force, Bureau of Economic Geology (2002)

Far-traveled minibasins and the great Plio-Pleistocene salt surge, Green Canyon, Gulf of Mexico, presented at UTIG Seminar Series, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (2006)

Mechanics of the advance of buried salt sheets and implications for predicting subsalt pore pressure, presented at GX Technology Research Conference, Houston, Texas (2006)

Evolution of compressional minibasins, presented at ExxonMobil, Houston, Texas (2006)

Diachronous growth of fold limbs on the Mad Dog Anticline: implications for base-salt deformation in the Atwater Fold Belt, presented at ExxonMobil, Houston, Texas (2006)

Far-traveled minibasins and the great Plio-Pleistocene salt surge, Green Canyon, Gulf of Mexico, presented at ExxonMobil, Houston, Texas (2006)

Emplacement of allochthonous salt sheets in passive margins and orogens, presented at ExxonMobil, Houston, Texas (2006)

Import and export of salt from squeezed stocks, presented at ExxonMobil, Houston, Texas (2006)

Thrust faults and salt welds associated with squeezed rocks, presented at ExxonMobil, Houston, Texas (2006)

Advanced course in allochthonous salt tectonics, presented to Veritas Hampson Russel, Houston, Texas (2006)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Veritas Hampson Russel, Houston, Texas (2006)

Thrust faults and salt welds associated with squeezed stocks, presented at BP, Sunbury, England (2006)

Evolution of compressional minibasins, presented at BP, Sunbury, England (2006)

The great West-African Tertiary coastal uplift: fact or fiction? A perspective from the Angoland divergent margin, presented at BP, Sunbury, England (2006)

Import and export of salt from squeezed stocks, presented at BP, Sunbury, England (2006)

Styles of active diapirism in offshore Mauritania: shortening vs. halokinesis, presented at BP, Sunbury, England (2006)

A compressional origin for minibasins near the Sigsbee Scarp, Gulf of Mexico, presented at UT-DOGS Seminar Series, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (2005)

A compressional origin for minibasins near the Sigsbee Scarp, Gulf of Mexico, presented at BEG technical seminar, Austin, Texas (2005)

The Salt Mine 2005--lather, rinse, repeat, presented to BEG project review panel, Austin, Texas (2005)

AGL plans for 2006, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Evolution of compressional minibasins, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Styles of active diapirism in offshore Mauritania: shortening vs. halokinesis, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Diachronous growth of fold limbs on the Mad Dog anticline: implications for base-salt deformation in the Atwater Foldbelt, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Emplacement of allochthonous salt sheets in passive margins and orogens, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Influence of roof density and advance rates on the structure of salt-sheet sutures, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Far-travelled minibasins and the Great Plio-Pleistocene Salt Surge, Green Canyon, Gulf of Mexico, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Effects of salt-sheet shape and synkinematic loading on the structure of salt-sheet sutures, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

The fate of raft blocks, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

AGL technology transfer for 2005: introducing The Salt Mine: 3rd edition, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Cross-section balancing and analog modeling capabilities of the AGL, presented to representatives of the Polish Geological Institute and Polish Ministry of the Environment, Austin, Texas (2005)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Hydro Oil and Energy, Bergen, Norway (2005)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Forest Oil International, Denver, Colorado (2005)

Advanced Seminar in Allochthonous Salt Tectonics, presented to BHP Billiton Petroleum, Houston, Texas (2005)

Salt sheet advancement and its impact on the Mad Dog area, presented at BP, Houston, Texas (2005)

Thrust faults and salt welds associated with squeezed stocks, presented to ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas (2005)

Evolution of compressional minibasins, presented to ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas (2005)

Diachronous growth of fold limbs on the Mad Dog Anticline: implications for base-salt deformation in the Atwater Foldbelt, presented to ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas (2005)

Far-travelled minibasins and the Great Plio-Pleistocene Salt Surge, Green Canyon, Gulf of Mexico, presented to ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas (2005)

Emplacement of allochthonous salt sheets in passive margins and orogens, presented to ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas (2005)

Import and export of salt from squeezed stocks, presented to ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas (2005)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas, Houston, Texas (2005)

Animations of simple (and not so simple) salt structures, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2004)

Models for the emplacement of allochthonous salt sheets, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2004)

Mechanics of salt-sheet advance, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2004)

Preliminary report on the advance history of the Mad Dog salt sheet, Gulf of Mexico, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2004)

Preliminary thoughts on the influence of advance history on the base-salt, disturbed zone, Mad Dog salt sheet, Gulf of Mexcio, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2004)

AGL technology transfer for 2004: The Salt Mine, Website, and visits, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, Austin, Texas (2004)

Salt tectonics, presented at AAPG E&P Methods and Technologies School, Dallas, Texas (2004)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Forest Oil International, Denver, Colorado (2004)

Near-salt deformation: formation of subsalt disturbed zones during salt-sheet advance, presented at BP Salt Symposium, Houston, Texas (2004)

Techniques for identification of feeders and sutures in salt canopy systems, presented to Veritas DGC, Houston, Texas (2004)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Veritas DGC, Houston, Texas (2004)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Repsol-YPF, Madrid, Spain (2004)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to ChevronTexaco, New Orleans, Louisiana (2004)

A new look at Angolan salt tectonics, tectonostratigraphy, and differential uplift in the Kwanza Basin, presented to ExxonMobil, (2003)

Influence of precursor salt structures on thrust faulting, deepwater Gabon, presented to ExxonMobil, (2003)

Overview of salt modeling: the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory, presented to Anne Rieckmann and managers from ExxonMobil, (2003)

Deepwater deformation in the lower Congo Basin, Gabon, presented to Woodside Petroleum, Ltd., (2003)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Woodside Petroleum, Ltd., (2003)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Veritas DGC, (2003)

The Salt Mine: a progress report, presented to Bureau of Economic Geology Directorate, Austin, Texas (2003)

5th grade Science Fair judge, Hill Country Christian School, Austin, Texas (2003)

The Salt Mine, presented at BP Exploration Forum, Austin, Texas (2003)

AGL technology transfer for 2003--improvements to The Salt Mine and the AGL website, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates meeting, Austin, Texas (2003)

Animations of simple salt structures--new additions for 2003, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates meeting, Austin, Texas (2003)

Effects of deep-water basement uplift in the Kwanza Basin, Angola, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates meeting, Austin, Texas (2003)

Techniques for identification of feeders and sutures in salt canopy systems, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates meeting, Austin, Texas (2003)

Early compressional history of minibasins near the Sigsbee Escarpment, Gulf of Mexico, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates meeting, Austin, Texas (2003)

Intrusion of salt during shortening: examples from northwest Germany, presented at Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates meeting, Austin, Texas (2003)

Effects of basement uplift on passive-margin salt basins: new insights from the Kwanza Basin, Angola, Petrobras Corporate University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2003)

Estranged neighbors: independent tectonic evolution of the onshore and offshore Kwanza salt basins, Angola, Petrobras Corporate University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2003)

Effects of rift segmentation on salt tectonics, Kwanza Basin, Angola, Petrobras Corporate University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2003)

AGL technology transfer: the Salt Mine and the AGL Website, Petrobras Corporate University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2003)

Effects of basement uplift on passive-margin salt basins: new insights from the Kwanza Basin, Angola, Petrobras Exploration and Production, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2003)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, 8th International Congress of the Brazilian Geophysical Society, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2003)

Regional restoration across the Kwanza Basin, Angola: salt tectonic triggered by repeated uplift of a metastable passive margin, presented at Baylor University Geology Colloquium, Waco, Texas (2003)

Estranged neighbors: independent tectonic evolution of the onshore and offshore Kwanza Salt Basins, Angola, presented at the AAPG Annual Convention, (2002)

Changes in location and style of deepwater contraction in the Kwanza Basin, Angola: in oil and gas in compressional belts, presented at joint meeting of the Tectonic Studies Group and Petroleum Group, Geological Society of London, (2002)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Encana Petroleum, (2002)

Using EarthVision to analyze normal fault relays, technical brief presented to Dynamic Graphics, Inc., Alameda, California (2002)

Introducing "The Salt Mine", presented at BEG technical seminar, Austin, Texas (2002)

Groundwater and caves, presented to the 6th grade at Hill Country Christian School (two presentations), Austin, Texas (2002)

Earthquakes, presented to the 5th grade at Hill Country Christian School (two presentations), Austin, Texas (2002)

The Applied Geodynamics Laboratory, presented to BEG Advisory Committee, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (2002)

The Salt Mine status report, presented at the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (2002)

Animations of simple salt structures, presented at the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (2002)

The new AGL website: now worth looking at!, presented at the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (2002)

Restorations of seismic data over contractional structures in the deepwater Lower Congo Basin, Gabon, presented at the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (2002)

Alternating transtension and transpression on a strike-slip plate boundary: Aquitaine Basin, France, presented at the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory Industrial Associates Meeting, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (2002)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to EnCana (twice), Calgary, Canada (2002)

Principles and applications of salt tectonics, presented to Veritas DGC (four times), Houston, Texas (2002)

Contrasting modes and magnitudes of shortening in salt and sediment on the African Atlantic passive margin: in northwest African Atlantic margin and analogs, presented at the First Marrakech International Oil and Gas Conferences and Exhibition, Marrakech, Morocco (2002)

Contractional salt tectonics in deep water, presented to Woodside Petroleum, Ltd., Perth, Australia (2002)

Physical geology, presented to Geology 1405, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (2000)

Structural geology, presented to Geology 3445, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (2000)

Geology 1405, Physical Geology, Baylor University, (1999)

Geology 1405, Physical Geology, Baylor University, (1999)

Geology 5377/4V90, Hydrocarbon Structural Styles, Baylor University, (1999)

Geology 5325-03, Advanced Metamorphic Petrology, Baylor University, (1999)

Geology 3445, Structural Geology, Baylor University, (1998)

Geology 1405, Physical Geology, Baylor University, (1998)

Geology 1405, Physical Geology, Baylor University, (1998)

Geology 5377-02, Tectonic evolution of Western North America, Baylor University, (1998)

Geology 5V90-05, Construction of Balanced Cross-Sections, Baylor University, (1998)

Physical geology, presented to Geology 1405, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (1997)

Structural geology, presented to Geology 3445, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (1997)