Peter Eichhubl's research combines the fields of fault and fracture mechanics and low-temperature geochemistry addressing deformation mechanisms of the upper crust, structural control of mass and heat transfer in sedimentary basins, effects of chemical mass transfer on the mechanical and hydraulic behavior of fractures and faults, and the chemical interaction between fluids and minerals. Dr. Eichhubl's research is of applied interest to groundwater management and the exploration and production of hydrocarbons. Fundamental aspects of the research have implications for the seismic and aseismic deformation of the Earth's upper crust and for the interaction of subsurface fluids with the atmosphere and biosphere.

Areas of Expertise

Fault and fracture mechanics, diagenesis and low-temp. geochemistry, fluid flow and transfer processes in sedimentary basins, deformation mechanisms of the upper crust, structural control of mass and heat transfer in sedimentary basins, effects of chemical mass transfer on the mechanical and hydraulic behavior of fractures and faults, chemical interaction between fluids and minerals


Research Locations



Current Research Programs & Projects

Fracture research and application consortium (FRAC): fundamental and applied research on naturally fractured reservoirs (with Steve Laubach, Julia Gale, BEG, Jon Olson, UT-CPGE; Randy Marrett, UT-DGS) ( view )Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security (CFSES): DOE-sponsored research on subsurface CO2 sequestration (with Larry Lake, Sanjay Shrinivasan, Mary Wheeler, Matt Balhoff, Nick Hayman, Nicolas Espinoza and others UT-CPGE; Tom Dewers and others, S ( view )

Shell UT Unconventional Research (SUTUR) - Multi-phase physics and matrix-fracture transfer in partially mineralized and propped fractures (with Masha Prodanovic, PGE)

DOE-BES Predicting fracture porosity evolution in sandstone (with Steve Laubach, BEG)

RPSEA Relationships between Induced Seismicity and Fluid Injection: Development of strategies to Manage Fluid Disposal in Shale Hydrocarbon Plays (with Cliff Frohlich, Julia Gale, Jon Olson PGE)

NETL: Geomechanics of CO2 Reservoir Seals, with Jon Olson (UT-CPGE), Pania Newell, Tom Dewers (Sandia National Labs)

Microstructure of deformation bands (industry sponsored)

JSG seed grant: stable isotopes of fracture cements


Associate Editor, AAPG Bulletin, AAPG (2013 - Present)

JSG Energy Theme leader, JSG (2011 - Present)

Member, Graduate student admissions and support, JSG (2011 - Present)

Associate Editor, GSA Bulletin, GSA (2006 - Present)

Postdocs

Christopher Landry

Zhiqiang Fan
I joined BEG as a postdoctoral fellow in 2013 after getting my Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from University of Maine. With a solid background of mechanics, I enjoy multidisciplinary research and have a wide range of research experiences. For my master theses, I analyzed the large deformation and instability of hyperleastic materials. For my Ph. D, I developed computational/analytical models to simulate natural hydraulic fracture initiation and propagation associated with transformation of solid kerogen to liquid oil, and conversion of oil to gas in shale formations. I also investigated multiple hydraulic fractures in poroelastic rocks. My current research is focused on fluid injection induced earthquakes. We try to investigate the causative relationship between fluid injection and induced seismic fault slip by integrating geological and geophysical data into a poroelastic finite element model. My research interests include borehole stability, hydraulic fracture, interaction between fluid flow, rock deformation and crack growth, and abnormal pressure modeling in sedimentary basins.

Estibalitz Ukar, 2011 - 2013, PhD UT Austin
Research Associate, BEG

Tobias Weisenberger, 2010 - 2012, PhD Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany
Iceland GeoSurvey, Reykjavik, Iceland

Andras Fall, 2008 - 2011, PhD Virginia Tech
Research Associate, BEG

Stephen Becker, 2007 - 2008, PhD Virginia Tech
Exxon Upstream Research


Graduate Students

Owen A Callahan, Ph.D., expected 2017 (Supervisor)
My research is focussed on the interplay between fault and fracture permeability, hydrothermal fluid flow, alteration, mechanical properties, and deformation. I am currently working on projects in Dixie Valley, NV, and in the North Cascades, WA. I worked as a geologist in the geothermal industry for 5 years before returning to graduate school.

Jonathan Major, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
I consider myself primarily an applied structural geologist and tectonicist, but I have a wide range of interests and research experiences. My current research is focused on understanding the interactions between structures, fracturing, and geochemistry, primarily focusing on fracture systems found in mudrocks. My dissertation project is assessing fault and top seal behavior in CO2-rich systems by looking at an natural analog near Green River, Utah. I am combining field work, experimental geomechanics, petrography, petrology, and numerical modeling to do this. The primary application of my work is long-term carbon sequestration, but it also has relevance to CO2-injection for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and mudrock fracture systems in general. My primary field research areas are the Colorado Plateau, Utah, and eastern Indonesia.

Canalp Ozkul, M.S., expected 2014 (Supervisor)
The main focus of my research is the study of fracture characteristics and their relationship with structural position in tight gas sandstone reservoirs. I study distribution and characteristics of opening mode fractures in thrust belt systems. I also compare the strain distribution, attributes of fractures in outcrop, and kinematic models in order to estimate the timing of the fracture formation relative to the evolution of the thrust belt system. I use kinematic models in 2D and 3D, outcrop study, and petrography to do these estimations. Ultimately I seek to predict reservoir properties based on structural position of the reservoirs.

Adenike Tokan-Lawal, M.S., expected 2014 (Supervisor)
Fluid flow in fractured (partially) cemented porous media using x-ray microtomography images. X-ray microtomography imaging is used to provide information on fracture geometry, this serves as input for simulation. 3DMA Rock software is used for Image analysis and characterization of the connectivity and geometric tortuosity of the fractured pore space. A combination of the level-set-method-based progressive-quasistatic algorithm (LSMPQS software), and lattice Boltzmann simulation (Palabos software) are used to characterize the capillary dominated displacement properties and the relative permeability of the natural fractures. My research is co-supervised by Drs Peter Eichhubl and Masa Prodanovic (PGE - http://users.ices.utexas.edu/~masha/ )

Casey M Obrien (Supervisor)

Natchanan Doungkaew (Supervisor)

Erick M Wright (Supervisor)

Laura Pommer, M.S., 2013 (Supervisor)
UT Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences
Thesis: Natural fracture cementation in the Marcellus Formation. Co-supervised by Dr. Julia Gale

Guangjian Cecilia Xu, M.S., 2012 (Supervisor)
UT Austin, JAckson School of Geosciences
Thesis: Fluid inclusion studies of microfractures in Eriboll Formation, NW Scotland: Insights into timing of fracture opening

Alexander Urquhart, M.S., 2011 (Supervisor)
UT Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences
Thesis: Structural controls on CO2 leakage and diagenesis in a natural long-term carbon sequestration analogue: The Little Grand Wash fault, Utah.

Autumn Kaylor Eakin, M.S., 2011 (Supervisor)
UT Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences
Thesis: A fluid inclusion and cathodoluminescence approach to reconstruct fracture growth in the Triassic-Jurassic La Boca Formation, Northeastern Mexico

Peter Hargrove, M.S., 2010 (Co-supervisor)
UT Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences
Thesis: Fault-related fracture systems in the Cambrian Eriboll Formation, Northwest Scotland : a field and petrographic study of a tight gas sandstone analog


GEO 380C Advanced Structural Geology (Graduate)

Fault and fracture processes, structural diagenesis (Graduate)
Graduate student projects combine the fields of fault and fracture mechanics and low-temperature geochemistry addressing deformation mechanisms of the upper crust, structural control of mass and heat transfer in sedimentary basins, the effects of chemical mass transfer on the mechanical and hydraulic behavior of fractures and faults, and the chemical interaction between fluids and minerals. Projects usually require the integration of field and laboratory analytical or numerical work and preference goes to applicants that are equally comfortable in the field and in the lab. Research topics include field- and core-based structural geology, geomechanics, geofluids, geochemistry, and natural resources including CO2 sequestration. A current research emphasis lies in Structural Diagenesis which combines the traditionally separate fields of brittle structural geology and diagenesis/geochemistry. Preference goes to PhD applicants with a prior MS degree and MS applicants with undergraduate research experience, preferentially through completion of a senior's thesis. Applications should be submitted to the MS or PhD program in Geological Sciences (GEO). Please contact Peter Eichhubl (peter.eichhubl@beg.utexas.edu for further details.

 
Field lecture at Valley of Fire, Nevada.

Field work in Scotland, Utah, and Alberta.

Field lecture at Valley of Fire, Nevada.Alex Urquhart mapping veins formed by natural CO2 leakage in central Utah.Pole photography.Camp in NW Scotland, June 2011.Esti Ukar and Jon Major collecting structural data at Ram Falls, Alberta, Canada,With John Hooker on the Moine Thrust in NW Scotland.Discussing fractures in the Canadian Rockies. FRAC students and staff with industry participants at Ram River Falls, Alberta, Canada, September 2013.Owen Callahan studying extinct fumaroles, Dixie Valley, Nevada.Owen Callahan, Yaser Alzayer, and John Hooker in the Scottish Highlands, June 2013.Camp in the Scottish Highlands, June 2013.FRAC students September 2013.Autumn Eakin mapping fracture patterns in Alberta, Canada, July 2010.