My research spans a wide range of geological problems, with a common thread being developing computational methods to address all stages of the scientific process, from data acquisition and processing to information mining to numerical modeling. I have two primary research areas. One is the application of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography to a diverse spectrum of disciplines, including paleontology, petrology, hydrogeology, structural geology, economic geology and planetary science. The other is theory and practice of apatite fission-track (AFT) thermochronology, and thermal history inversion from AFT, (U-Th)/He, and vitrinite data. I am putting together a state-of-the-art fission-track lab indended for both experimental and field-problem-oriented work.

Other current research interests include numerical depiction of diffusion-controlled crystal growth during prograde metamorphism on geological time scales, and characterizing the thermal structure of continents.

I am always looking for motivated students, especially quantitative and creative ones who are not afraid to do something totally new.

Areas of Expertise

High-resolution X-ray computed tomography, CT scanning, 3D image analysis, fission-track dating, thermochronology, structural geology, tectonics, digital morphology, trabecular bone


Research Locations



G. Moses and Carloyn G. Knebel Distinguished Teaching Award; Introductory-level teaching - Jackson School of Geosciences (2011)

GSA Fellow - Geological Society of America (2010)

Research Excellence Fellow - Jackson School of Geosciences (2007 - 2009)

Scientist Fellow - Jackson School of Geosciences (2006 - 2007)

Research Fellow - Jackson School of Geosciences (2005 - 2006)

Houston Geological Society Outstanding Student Award - University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geological Sciences (1995)

Best Ph.D. Technical Sessions Presentation - University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geological Sciences (1994)

Graduate Student Service Award - University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geological Sciences (1994)

Graduate Students

Emily Hernandez Goldstein, Ph.D., expected 2017 (Committee Member)
I am currently pursuing my PhD under the supervision of Daniel Stockli. My research combines geochemistry, mineralogy and plate tectonics to better understand how minerals form, water-rock interactions, and the thermal and temporal evolution of ocean-continent transitions. I am developing a method that uses magnetite to date serpentinites in order to better understand how continents break up to form oceans. My research interests broadly involve novel geo/thermochronology techniques with applications to tectonics.

Jordan Hildebrandt, M.S., expected 2014 (Supervisor)
Quantitative analysis

Sean M Sanguinito, M.S., expected 2013 (Supervisor)
My research is focused on using low temperature thermochronometers such as apatite fission track, and apatite and zircon (U-Th/He) to explore unroofing styles of metamorphic core complexes. Specifically I am attempting to determine if displacement during the evolution of unroofing changes from low angle detachment faulting to high angle normal faults. My two field areas are the Harcuvar Mountains in western Arizona and the Santa Catalina-Rincon Mountains in southeastern Arizona.


"Measurement and modeling of fission-track annealing in apatite: where we are, and where to go from here", 9th Chinese National conference on Nuclear Track in Solids and International Workshop on Fission Track Thermochronology, Datong, China (2007)

"Three-dimensional imaging, visualization and characterization of pore structure in natural and man-made materials using X-ray CT", 2nd International Workshop on Moisture Induced Damage of Asphalt Mixes, Texas A&M University (2007)

"Low temperature thermochronology and thermal history inversion: Two steps forward, 100 Ma back", Mineralogical Society of America Short Course on Thermochronology, Snowbird, Utah (2005)

"Measurement and interpretation of fabrics in 3D, from trabecular bone to crystals", George Washington University, George Washington Universit (2003)

"Inter-calibrating apatite fission-track and (U,Th)/He geothermometers: a progress report. Symposium 18-1 (Fission Tracks, Thermoluminescence, Eletron Spin Resonance and Cathodoluminescence)", Donelick, R.A. (Donelick Analytical, Inc.), Reiners, P.W. (Wa, 31st International Geological Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2000)

"The distribution of radiogenic heat production in continental crust, and the thermal structure of the southern Basin and Range", Rice University, Texas (2000)

"New insights concerning the calibration of apatite fission-track annealing", Rice University, Texas (1998)