Dr. Flemings' research couples observation with theoretical analysis to study crustal fluid flow at human and geologic timescales. He asks classical questions such as: 1) what is the relationship between faulting, pressure, and stress? 2) what is the shallow crust's permeability and how does it vary with pore pressure? 3) how is continental margin morphology controlled by fluid flow? 4) how do hydrocarbons move at both geological and production time scales?

Areas of Expertise

Stratigraphy, basin analysis, basin-scale fluid flow, pore pressures in seafloor sediments, submarine landslides, oil and gas migration, methane hydrates, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP)

Current Research Programs & Projects

UT GeoFluids Consortium: Pressure, Stress and Geologic Evolution in the Gulf of Mexico

Controls on Methane Expulsion During Melting of Natural Gas Hydrate Systems: Topic Area 2

SUTUR – Mechanisms of Gas Flow in Shale

Select Past Research

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, Gulf of Mexico: Expedition 308, Gulf of Mexico Hydrogeology

Chair: 2nd Gordon Research Conference on Hydrates - Gordon Research Conference (2011)

Vice Chair: 1st Gordon Research Conference on Hydrates - Gordon Research Conference (2010)

Informal Advisor to Energy Secretary S. Chu’s BP Macondo Well Integrity Team - BP Macondo Well Integrity Team (2010)

Keynote Speaker/ Co-Convener, 'Subsurface sediment mobilization and fluid flow' - Geological Society, London. (2008)

Keynote Speaker and Co-Convener - Geological Society, London (2007 - 2007)

JOI-USSAC Distinguished Lecturer - JOI-USSAC (2007 - 2007)

Kavli Fellow and Speaker - Humboldt Foundation Frontiers of Science Symposium (2006 - 2006)

AAPG Distinguished Lecturer - American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2006 - 2006)

G. Montgomery and Marion Mitchell Award for Innovative Teaching - Pennsylvania State University, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (2003 - 2003)

Best Paper Award - Computers and Geosciences (2001 - 2001)

Geological Society of America Fellow - Geological Society of America (1997 - 1997)

Matthew J. and Anne C. Wilson Outstanding Teaching Award - Pennsylvania State University, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (1996 - 1996)

Best Paper, J.C. Cam Sproule Memorial Award - AAPG Bulletin (1995 - 1995)

Shell Faculty Fellow - Shell (1994 - 1997)

Crosby Distinguished Lecturer - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992 - 1992)

Best Paper Award - Mountain Geologist (1991 - 1991)

John McMullen Graduate Fellowship for academic record (1986 - 1986)

Visiting Research Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2013)

Shipboard Scientist, JOIDES Resolution cruise (2012)

Convener, EarthScope-GeoPRISMS, EarthScope-GeoPRISMS Science Workshop for Eastern North America, Bethlehem, PA (2011)

Co-chair, GEOPRESSURE 2011, Galveston, TX, GEOPRESSURE 2011, Galveston, TX (2011)

Convener, EarthScope-GeoPRISMS, EarthScope-GeoPRISMS Opportunities in Eastern North America, Mini-Workshop, Austin, TX, May 2011 (2011)

Convener, EarthScope, EarthScope National Meeting, Austin, TX, May 2011 (2011)

Meeting Organizer, UT GeoFluids, UT GeoFluids Industrial Affiliates Meeting, Austin, TX, Feb. 2011 (2011)

Chair, Gordon Research Conference, 2nd Gordon Research Conference in Gas Hydrates (2011 - 2012)

Co-Convener, Rifting Margins, Rifting Margins Workshop, Nov. 2010 (2010)

Member, GeoPrisms, GeoPrisms Steering Committee (2010 - 2012)

Vice Chair, Gordon Research Conference, 1st Gordon Research Conference in Gas Hydrates (2010 - 2011)

Member, Science Proposal Writing Committee—Margins, Science Proposal Writing Committee—Margins (2010)

Member, The Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee (An Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Energy), The Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee (An Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Energy) (2010 - 2012)

Member, Organizing Committee, International Conference on Geopressure (Galveston, 10/4/2011) (2010)

Chair, Sed Erg, Jackson School (2009)

Chair, Energy Theme Search Committee, Jackson School (2009)

Member, IT Search Committee, Department of Geological Sciences (2009)

Chair, Graduate Studies Committee, The Unviersity of Texas (2009 - 2012)

Member, Appointments Committee, Jackson School (2009 - 2013)

Member, Endowment Committee, Jackson School (2009 - 2011)

Member, IODP Board of Governors, IODP Board of Governors (2009 - 2011)

Chair, Ad Hoc Department Computing Committee, Department of Geological Sciences (2008 - 2009)

Chair, Schoch Building Move Committee, Department of Geological Sciences (2008 - 2009)

Member, UTIG Director Search Committee (UTIG), UTIG (2008 - 2009)

Graduate Adviser, Dept. of Geological Science, Jackson School (2008 - 2012)

Member, Colorado School of Mines Department of Geological Engineering Review Committee, Colorado School of Mines Department of Geological Engineering Review Committee (2008 - 2011)

Member, Departmental Endowed Position Committee, Department of Geological Sciences (2007 - 2009)

Member, Energy Theme Search Committee, Jackson School (2007 - 2009)

Chairperson, IODP Engineering Development Panel (2005 - 2008)

Co-Chief Scientist, IODP Expedition 308, Gulf of Mexico Hydrogeology (2005)

Convener, Downhole Tools Workshop, JOI-USSAC supported workshop (2004)

Director, GeoFluidsIII Consortium (2004 - 2008)

Associate Editor, Geofluids (2003 - 2006)

Shipboard Scientist, JAMSTEC KR03-05 data recovery cruise, Yokohama, Japan (2003)

Shorebased Scientist, ODP Leg 204 (2003)

Member, AAPG Research Committee (2003 - 2006)

ACORK Specialist, Ocean Drilling Program data recovery cruise (2002)

Director, GeoFluidsII Consortium (2002 - 2004)

Co-Chair, American Geophysical Union Session in Dynamics of Gas Hydrate Reservoirs and Similar Shallow Marine Flow Systems (2001)

Logging/CORK Specialist, Ocean Drilling Program Cruise, Leg 196 (2001)

Member, Interim Science Steering and Evaluation Panel for the Environment (2001 - 2002)

Chair, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Session in Geopressure and Trap Integrity (2000)

Participant, Ocean Drilling Program (ODP)-Industry workshop (1999)

Participant, National Science Foundation Special Sedimentary Geosciences Workshop (1999)

Member, JOI Pollution Prevention and Safety Panel (1999 - 2002)

Participant, Ocean Drilling Program (ODP)-Industry workshop (1999)

Manager, GeoFluids and GeoSystems Office (1999 - 2008)

Liaison, Departmental Industry Recruiting Program (1999 - 2007)

Leader, Gas Research Industry Workshop (1998)

Director, Penn State Time-Lapse Seismic Consortium (1998 - 2001)

Director, Penn State GeoFluids Consortium (1998 - 2001)

Logging Scientist, Ocean Drilling Program Cruise, Leg 174A (1997)

Member, Scientific Measurements Panel of the Ocean Drilling Program (1997 - 2000)

Associate Editor, Basin Research (1996 - 2011)


Kehua You
Kehua joined UT Geofluids as a postdoctoral fellow in June 2013. She earned her Ph.D. in geology from Texas A&M University in 2013, and her B.S. in environmental sciences from University of Science and Technology of China in 2008. She specializes in theoretical and computational hydrogeology, contaminant hydrology and reservoir simulation. Her primary research interest lies in fluid flow and transport in subsurface environment.

Athma R Bhandari
I work for the UT Geofluids Consortium at the Bureau of Economic Geology. I earned my Ph.D. (Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering) from University of Southampton, M. Eng degree in Civil Engineering (Applied and Rock Mechanics) from the University of Tokyo, and B. E. degree in Civil Engineering from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. My main research interests lie in experimental geomechanics, more specifically, laboratory study of deformation and flow in geomaterials (soils and rocks). I examine the underlying mechanics of observed macro-scale behavior of geomaterials. In my current research, I measure shale permeability under reservoir pore and confining pressure conditions. It aims to predict porosity and permeability behavior in shales through the production life cycle.

Julia S. Reece, 2012 - 2013

Graduate Students

Dylan W Meyer, Ph.D., expected 2017 (Supervisor)
My research is centered around methane hydrate stability and gas migration mechanisms in submarine sediments on continental slopes around the world. I have been working on determine the thermodynamic phase state of the hydrates within these sediments to gain understanding into the formation of these hydrate-systems as well as the sensitivity of these systems to fluctuating in situ conditions. This research is important for three reasons: a) Methane hydrates are an important potential energy resource for countries all around the world. b) Global climate change could potentially dissociate much of these hydrate systems, releasing massive amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere and compounding the affects of global warming. c) The release of free gas into the near-subsurface could increase to frequency and severity of submarine landslides.

Baiyuan Gao, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
Baiyuan is currently working on pore pressure prediction within dipping reservoirs. She will systematically study the effects of reservoir relief, mudstone properties, and 3D geometry on reservoir pressure. She will also develop simple approaches to predict the in-situ reservoir pressure.

Jason C Sanford, M.S., expected 2014 (Supervisor)
Jason is an M.S. Candidate in Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is currently exploring geopressure history and geomechanics of reservoir-scale sand injections in the Panoche Giant Injection Complex in central California as the second component of his M.S. thesis work. Efforts include mapping of sand injections in the PGIC in order to construct 3-D physical and 2-D geomechanical models of sand injection and understanding and modeling hydraulic fracture initiation and propagation and fluid-sand slurry transport during sand injection. As the first component of his M.S. thesis work, Jason mapped the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary deposit in the Gulf of Mexico, employing regional seismic, well-log, and core interpretation in order to evaluate the basin's response to the Chicxulub Impact.

Michael B Cronin, M.S., expected 2013 (Supervisor)

Yao You, Ph.D., expected 2013 (Supervisor)
I am interested in studying the coupling of geomechanics and geomorphology.

William S Betts, M.S., expected 2012 (Supervisor)

Michael P Merrell, M.S., expected 2012 (Supervisor)

Kristopher Darnell, Ph.D. (Supervisor)

Andrew Smith, M.S., 2012 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas

Julia Schneider, Ph.D., 2011 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas

Derek Sawyer, Ph.D., 2010 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas

Hilary Strong, M.S., 2009 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas

Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows, Nautilus, Houston (2013)

Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows, Nautilus, Houston (2012)

Gas Venting Through the Hydrate Stability Zone: observation and theory, MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany (2012)

Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows, Nautilus, Houston (2011)

Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows, Nautilus, Norway (2011)

Offshore Active Processes and Hazards, RIE Lehigh conference, Bethlehem, PA (2011)

Capillary behavior of methane hydrates, Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Long Beach, Ca. (2011)

Sub-seafloor Oil-plume Containment: How can we preserve and build the required expertise to respond to large oil vents in the US waters? Is there a role beyond spill response?, National USGS Marine Geohazards Workshop, Pore Pressure and the Macondo Well, Menlo Park, CA (2011)

2015Spring GEO 391 Field Stratig Guadalupe Mtns
2015Spring GEO 330K Energy Exploration
2015Spring GEO 382D Crustal Geofluids
2015Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2014Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2014Spring GEO 330K Energy Exploration
2014Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2013Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2013Spring GEO 330K Energy Exploration
2013Spring GEO 382D Crustal Geofluids
2013Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2012Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2012Spring GEO 371C/GEO 391 Field Stratig: Guadalupe Mtns
2012Spring GEO 330K Energy Exploration
2012Spring GEO 382D Crustal Geofluids
2012Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids

Graduate and Post-Doctoral opportunities in GeoFluids Research Group (Graduate)
The GeoFluids Research Group has immediate opportunities for graduate and post-doctoral study. Dr. Flemings is most enthused by students who have a commitment to a doctoral program because that allows time to delve deeply into research. However, he also regularly accepts exceptional M.S. students into our research group. If you are interested, please e-mail, Peter Flemings (pflemings@jsg.utexas.edu).

Current Research Opportunities:

1. Hydrate Melting:
Examine the melting of methane hydrates in Arctic systems. DOE funded effort will examine the impact of warming over human time scales and longer. The project description is found here. We are looking for students and post-doctoral scientists with a fascination for marine geology and a yen for quantitative analysis of fluid flow.

2. Mass Transport in Shales:
Study transport processes in shale systems! You will perform permeability testing of shales (e.g. the Barnett, the Marcellus…) and develop multi-scale numerical models to describe mass transport within these systems. The work will include both laboratory analysis and sample characterization. This project is supported by Shell.

3. GeoPressure Analysis:
Study geopressure in sedimentary basins through our industry funded consortium UTGeoFluids. Dr. Flemings is always looking for students with a yen to characterize and model overpressure in sedimentary basins.

4. Mudrock Geomechanics:
Study the geomechanics of mudrocks through experimental analysis. This research is supported by UTGeoFluids. In this research, we analyze both intact samples (from industry and the ocean drilling program) and we synthetically create mudrocks. We ask fundamental questions such as:
How to mudrocks compact?
What is the permeability of mudrocks and how does it evolve?
What is the strength of mudrocks?