Susan D. Hovorka is a Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, at The University of Texas at Austin. She has a BA in geology from Earlham College and an MA and PhD from the University of Texas. She has worked on diverse topics related to water quality protection, waste storage in bedded salt, and reservoir characterization. Her current research focuses on assessment of effectiveness of subsurface geologic sequestration of CO2 as a mechanism for reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions. Hovorka is the principle investigator of the Gulf Coast Carbon Center (www.gulfcoastcarbon.org) an industry/academic partnership working on economically viable approaches to geologic sequestration of CO2. She is the project lead for the " Early" test of the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) which has monitored injection of 3 million tons of CO2 at Denbury's Cranfield Field. She has recently completed leading a research team in completion of the two-phase Frio Pilot, a first US field test of storage of CO2 in brine-filled sandstones also funded by DOE-NETL. Both of these projects have recently been recognized by the international Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. Hovorka is also active in facilitating exchange between applied scientists and the broader public, with a focus on pre-college students and teachers, and is co-investigator for the STORE education program (www.storeco2now.com).

Areas of Expertise

Geologic carbon sequestration in deep sedimentary environments as part of carbon capture and storage. PI of the Gulf Coast Caron Center (www.gulfcoastcarbon.org) focused on research relevant to commercial development of geologic sequestration in regions where it is both needed and possible. Monitoring field projects. Petrography and sedimentology supporting hydrogeology in karst and contaminated systems. K-12 and public outreach and education.


Research Locations



One of 35 People Who Will Shape Our Future - Texas Monthly (2008)

Award of Excellence - Association for Women in Communications, World of Water Simulation (2006)

Joseph C. Walter Jr. Award - Jackson School of Geosciences (2005)

Member, Expert Review Panel, Edwards Aquifer Authority (2006)

Expert Review Panel Member, Greenhouse Gas Program, Review of Weyburn Phase II, Regina, Saskatchewan, International Energy Agency (Paris) (2006)

Member, Organizing Committee, Applied Technology Workshop on CO2 Sequestration, Society of Petroleum Engineers (2005)

Member, Outreach Working Group, Regional Geological Sequestration Partnerships (2005 - 2006)

Issue Leader, Monitoring Working Group, International Energy Agency, Greenhouse Gas Program, Rome, (2005)

Session Chair, Symposium on Edwards Water Resources in Central Texas: Retrospective and Prospective, South Texas Geological Society and Austin Geological Society (2004)

Member, Symposium Coordinating Committee, Symposium on Edwards Resources in Central Texas: Retrospective and Prospective, South Texas Geological Society and Austin Geological Society (2004)

Member, Geological Storage Working Group, Regional Geological Sequestration Partnerships (2004 - 2005)

Chair, Geoscience Alliance, Jackson School K-12 and Public Outreach Committee, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin (2002 - 2003)

Member, Texas Education Commission Task Force of Geoscience Education in High School, (2002 - 2003)

Chairman, Evaporite Research Group, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists (1988)

Update on Frio Brine Project-15 months after injection, presented at Workshop on Carbon Capture and Storage, hosted by RITE, Tokyo, Japan (2006)

Monitoring and verification issues for carbon storage pilot experiments, presented at SECARB Industry Briefing, Atlanta, Georgia (2006)

Assessment of geological storage capacity of the southeastern U.S. for CO2 in brines and economic use for EOR, presented at SECARB Industry Briefing, Atlanta, Georgia (2006)

Stacked storage field project, presented at SECARB Industry Briefing, Atlanta, Georgia (2006)

All that glitters, demonstration presented at Explore UT, Austin, Texas (2006)

Host for shadowing, three "COOL Week" studentsfrom Leander and Cedar Park High Schools, Austin, Texas (2006)

Monitoring and verification issues for carbon storage, presented as online lecture to Regional Sequestration Partnerships Outreach and Geologic Working Groups, Austin, Texas (2006)

Update on the Frio Brine Pilot: 1 year after injection, presented at Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, GeoForschungszentrum, Potsdam, Germany (2005)

Frio case study, presented at IEA Annual Monitoring Network Workshop, Rome, Italy (2005)

Update on the Frio Brine Pilot: 1 year after injection, presented at IEA Annual Monitoring Network Workshop, Rome, Italy (2005)

Geologic assessments of karst areas, presented at the 10th Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst, San Antonio, Texas (2005)

Karst and flow in the confined and unconfined Edwards aquifer--key issues and unresolved problems, presented at Edwards Aquifer Workshop, San Antonio, Texas (2005)

From concept to reality: a systematic management approach for field implementation of the Frio Brine Pilot Test, presented at Fourth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration DOE/NETL, Alexandria, Virginia (2005)

Review of existing injection well permit regulations and expectations of future geologic sequestration CO2 regulations with monitoring conditions, presented at Fourth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration DOE/NETL, Alexandria, Virginia (2005)

The U-tube: a novel system for sampling and analyzing multi-phase borehole fluid samples during the Frio Brine Pilot Test, presented at Fourth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration DOE/NETL, Alexandria, Virginia (2005)

Frio Brine Pilot: lessons learned and questions restated, presented at Fourth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration DOE/NETL, Alexandria, Virginia (2005)

Testing the concepts of sequestration--field demonstration and economic projects, presented at UT CPGE Geological Storage JIP, Austin, Texas (2005)

Climate change: the issues and the options, presented at BEG Summer Lecture Series, Austin, Texas (2005)

Verification: does geologic storage really provide environmental benefit?, presented at GCCC 4th Quarter Partners Meeting, Austin, Texas (2005)

Update on the Frio Brine Pilot: 1 year after injection, presented at Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, CSLF Project Exhibits by Policy Group & Technical Group delegates and VIP's, Ministry of Economics and Labor (BMWA), Berlin, Germany (2005)

Frio Brine Pilot: field validation of numerical simulation of CO2 storage, presented at American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Meeting, Calgary, Canada (2005)

Testing geologic sequestration in high-permeability sandstone of the Frio Formation: 6-month update, presented at Australian CO2 CRC-Peter Cook Group, Canberra, Australia (2005)

Frio site visit and Frio Pilot overview, presented to Group from MIBRAG and Anhalt-Saxony, Germany, Dayton, Texas (2005)

Update on the Frio Brine Pilot: 1 year after injection, presented at Applied Technology Workshop (ATW) CO2 Sequestration, Galveston, Texas (2005)

Frio Brine pilot: CO2 outreach: Testing geologic sequestration in high-permeability sandstone of the Frio Formation: 6-month update, presented at the BP Festival, Houston, Texas (2005)

Draft strategic plan, presented to GCCC partners, Houston, Texas (2005)

Application of numerical models to development of the Frio Brine Storage Experiment, presented at EPA Modeling Workshop, Houston, Texas (2005)

GCCC plan and scope, presented to GCCC partners, Houston, Texas (2005)

Update on the Frio Brine Pilot: 8 months after injection, invited talk presented at First India-U.S. CCS Workshop, Hyderabad, India (2005)

Testing geologic sequestration in high-permeability sandstone of the Frio Formation: 6-month update, presented at AJW CCS Conference, Melbourne, Australia (2005)

Testing geologic sequestration in high-permeability sandstone of the Frio Formation: 6-month update, presented to Society of Petroleum Engineers Perth, Perth, Western Australia (2005)

Progress update: Developing a science and business plan for carbon storage and use in the Gulf Coast, presented to NETL management, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (2004)

Testing efficiency of storage in the subsurface: Frio Brine Pilot experiment, presented at the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas (2004)

Subsurface monitoring and verification, presented at the 7th Greenhouse Gas Technology Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia (2004)

Monitoring and verification issues for carbon storage, invited talk presented to EPA, Washington, D.C. (2004)

Monitoring and verification issues for carbon storage, presented at SSEB Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia (2004)

Testing efficiency of storage in the subsurface: Frio Brine Pilot Experiment, presented at MIT CSS Workshop, Boston, Massachusetts (2004)

New views of familiar places: elementary geoscience labs: Is dirt just dirt? and How the Earth makes us rich, presented at CAST, Corpus Christi, Texas (2004)

Is dirt just dirt?, presented at CAST meeting, Corpus Christi, Texas (2004)

Panning for pyrite, presented at CAST meeting, Corpus Christi, Texas (2004)

Texas Gulf Coast, presented to Geologic Working Group of the U.S. Department of Energy Regional Partnerships Program, Dayton, Texas (2004)

Frio Brine Pilot Experiment: update, presented at Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado (2004)

Frio Brine Pilot poster, presented to BP, CO2 Fest, Houston, Texas (2004)

Outreach lecture: CO2 is a gas, presented to BP, CO2 Fest, Houston, Texas (2004)

Developing a business plan for carbon use and carbon sequestration in the Gulf Coast, presented at Baker Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas (2004)

Informal update: Frio Brine Pilot, presented to GCCC partners, Houston, Texas (2004)

Gulf Coast Carbon Center review, presented to GCCC partners, Houston, Texas (2004)

Progress update: Frio Brine Pilot, Texas Gulf Coast, presented at DOE-NETL Program Review, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (2004)

Is Dirt Just Dirt Classroom Activity, Laurel Mountain Elementary, (2003)

Energy and the environment-tapping the potential for large-volume storage of carbon in the Gulf Coast, presented at Meeting of the Texas PTTC Producers Advisory Group (PAG) and State of Texas Policy Makers, Austin, Texas (2003)

The role of map dimension and movement in helping students solve geology problems, presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Illinois (2003)

Geoscience news on global warming, presented at CAST meeting, Houston, Texas (2003)

New views of familiar places using GIS in the classroom, presented at CAST meeting, Houston, Texas (2003)

Partnership kick-off, presented to U.S. Department of Energy, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (2003)

Frio Brine Pilot Project status report, presented to National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2002)

New views of familiar places short course, Region XIII training, presented to the Round Rock ISD, Round Rock, Texas (2002)

Aquifer-in-a-tank, presented at the Aquarena Groundwater Festival, (2002)

Revision to TNRCC Guidance for Geologists Doing Geologic Assessments of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, presented to Government Canyon, (2002)

Revision to TNRCC Guidance for Geologists Doing Geologic Assessments of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, presented to San Antonio College, (2002)

Examples from the Edwards aquifer: using hydrocarbon resource assessment to understand an aquifer/using aquifer tests to understand hydrocarbon resources and Revision to TNRCC Guidance for Geologists Doing Geologic Assessments of the Edwards Aquifer Recha, presented to South Texas Geological Society, (2002)

Virtual reality and Bureau tour, presented to the Austin Nature and Science Center staff, Austin, Texas (2002)

New views of familiar places-a GIS program for students, presented at the 18th Annual GIS Conference, Education Session, Austin, Texas (2002)

Aquifer-in-a-tank and sugar karst, presented at Environmental Science Institute Public Lecture Series, Austin, Texas (2002)

New views of familiar places-a GIS program for students, presented at the Conference for Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), Austin, Texas (2002)

Introducing the Jackson School Geoscience Alliance, presented to Austin Geological Society, Austin, Texas (2002)

Introducing the Jackson School Geoscience Alliance, presented at Bureau of Economic Geology seminar, Austin, Texas (2002)

BEG virtual reality tour, presented to Whitte Museum staff, Austin, Texas (2002)

Recharge to the BFZ Edwards aquifer-the issues and the unknowns, presented at The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geological Sciences Hydro Brown Bag Seminar, Austin, Texas (2002)

Climate change-issues and answers for Texas, presented at Bureau of Economic Geology seminar with P. R. Knox, M. H. Holtz, K. Fouad, S. Sakurai, J. G. Paine, and J. Yeh, Austin, Texas (2002)

Overview of Frio Brine Project, presented to GEO-SEQ advisory panel, Berkeley, California (2002)

Water for Texas (assisting Sigrid Clift with workshop), presented at the Conference for Advancement of Science Teaching, El Paso, Texas Texas (2002)

Geologic sequestration-case studies in the onshore U.S., presented at IBC Workshop on Carbon Sequestration, Houston, Texas (2002)

Identifying optimal environments for geologic storage of large volumes of CO2, onshore US, presented at Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ (2001)

Zoom into the environment, presented at a workshop Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), (2001)

Aquifer in a tank, presented at the Southwest Texas State University Groundwater Festival, Aquarena Springs, Texas (2001)

Reducing atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gasses by injecting them underground, presented to Austin Geological Society, Austin, Texas (2001)

Aquifer in a tank, presented at the Eanes Elementary School Science Night, Austin, Texas (2001)

Geoscience looks at global warming, presented at Earth Science Week Career Fair, 7th grade, Austin, Texas (2001)

Disaster masters-using GIS in the classroom, presented at Austin Science Fun Day, Parkside Community School, Austin, Texas (2001)

GIS 101: Using a computer for environmental assessment: think globally work locally, presented to the River Basin Institute, Jefferson, Texas (2001)

GIS 101: Using a computer for environmental assessment, presented to Texas Earth Science Teachers Association, short course, Selah Bamberger Ranch, Johnson City, Texas (2001)

Virtual reality tour of the Edwards aquifer, presented at Groundwater Festival 2000, Aquarena Center (with Scott Rodgers and John Andrews), San Marcos, Texas (2000)

Tour of the Edwards aquifer, presented to Honor Society, Southwest Texas Junior College, Uvalde, Texas (2000)

Workshop on salt core, Solution Mining Research Institute Field Trip to Bureau of Economic Geology Core Research Center (with Steve Seni), Austin, Texas (2000)

Virtual field trip through Texas, presented at Math and Science Technology Conference (with John Andrews), Austin, Texas (2000)

Flood!, presented at College of Natural Science, The University of Texas at Austin, Science Fun Day (with Bureau staff and Mrs. Hernandez' 6th grade), Austin, Texas (2000)

Bureau of Economic Geology K-12 outreach, presented to Austin Geological Society, Austin, Texas (2000)

Geoscience projects and virtual field trips for K-12 teachers, presented to Department of Geological Sciences Public Outreach program, The University of Texas at Austin (with Sigrid Clift), Austin, Texas (2000)

Sedimentary processes, Bureau of Economic Geology research seminar, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (2000)

Rocks from space: meteorites in the classroom, presented at Workshop Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) (with Roger Stryker and Dan Lester), College Station, Texas (2000)

Environmental assessment of your town-water, soils, rocks, and pollution, presented as short course to teachers: Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), College Station, TX (2000)

Virtual field trip through Texas and high-tech investigation of geology in your backyard, presented at Think Globally, Learn Locally Technology Conference (with John Andrews), Jefferson, Texas (2000)

EarthView Texas: high-tech investigation of geology in your backyard, presented at Cyprus Valley Education Center, Jefferson, Texas (2000)

Strategies for identification of optimal saline formations for sequestration of carbon dioxide in the United States, presented at ENERGX Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada (2000)

Virtual reality tour of Earth Science research in Texas, presented to Leakey School (with John Andrews and Dallas Dunlap), Leakey, Texas (2000)

Exploring for optimal environments for CO2 sequestration, onshore U.S., presented at International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme , Leeuwenhorst, Netherlands (2000)

Rocks from space: meteorites in the classroom, presented at National Science Teachers Association National Convention (with D. F. Lester, M. Walker, R. Stryker, and J. Jackson), Orlando, Florida (2000)

Why should you include an educational element in an applied research project?, present at the Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, (1999)

Aquifer in a Tank, presentation of hands-on 4th grade experiment for filming by Texas Education Agency "Eye on Earth" program, (1999)

Aquifer in a Tank, presentation of hands-on 4th grade experiment to Earth Camp, City of Austin environmental education training program for teachers, (1999)

Bureau Professional Development Programs, presented to Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) Informal Science Association Showcase, Lubbock, Texas (1999)

Determining water depth from evaporite sediments - a key element in modeling basin evolution, presented to Department of Geology, University of Texas at Arlington, (1998)

Sysnsedimentary dissolution, a method for determining water depth in evaporites, presented to SEPM Evaporite Research Group, American Association of Petroleum Geologists National Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, (1998)

"3-D visualization of the Edwards Aquifer", presented to Bureau of Economic Geology, April 1998, June 1998, February 1999, (1998)

Edwards Aquifer Issues and Scientific Resolution and Edwards aquifer field trip stop 3 and 4, presented to Commission National del Agua, (1998)

Salt dissolution in the Permian Basin: process and implications, (1997)

Long-term maintenance of playa lakes and lake basins on the Southern High Plains of Texas, presented to the Panhandle Geological Society, Amarillo, TX, (1996)

Regional distribution of permeability in the Edwards aquifer, (1995)

Permeability structure of the Edwards aquifer, South Texas-implications for aquifer management, presented to the South Texas Geological Society, San Antonio, Texas, (1995)

Porosity and permeability structure of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, presented to the Austin Geological Society, Austin, Texas, (1995)

Recognition of evaporite dissolution textures, presented to Evaporite Research Group, (1995)

Overview of recent research on the Edwards aquifer, presented to the TNRCC Groundwater Protection Committee, (1995)

Regional distribution of permeability in the Edwards Aquifer, presented to Edwards Underground Water District Board Meeting, (1995)

Gypsum in the Edwards group of South Texas, presented to SEPM Evaporite Research Group, Austin, Texas, (1994)

Porosity distribution in the Edwards aquifer-depositional facies, Cretaceous dolomitization, and Cenozoic fresh-water alteration, presented at Bureau of Economic Geology Colloquium, (1994)

Regional distribution of permeability in the Edwards aquifer, presented to the technical review group of the Edwards Underground Water District, (1994)

Quaternary playa basin fills on the Southern High Plains, Texas-implications for Pleistocene climate, Ogallala recharge, and playa basin evolution, presented at Bureau of Economic Geology Colloquium, (1993)

Austin Chalk at the SSC site-cyclic sedimentation, synsedimentary volcanism, microfabrics, and fracture intensity, presented to Union Pacific Resources, Fort Worth, (1993)

Cyclic sedimentation in deep-water shelf facies of the Austin Chalk, presented at Bureau of Economic Geology Colloquium, (1992)

Microfabric influence on fracture intensity, Austin Chalk, shallow subsurface, Ellis County, Texas, poster session presented to the Natural Fracture Workshop, Bureau of Economic Geology, Austin, Texas, (1992)

Porosity Development in Chert Three Bar Devonian Field, Andrews County, Texas, (1989)

Origin of Porosity in Chert of the Devonian Thirty-one Formation, presented to Mobil, Midland, Texas, (1989)

Sedimentary Significance of Polyhalite, Glauberite, and Sylvite-A Problem from the Permian of the Texas Panhandle, presented to SEPM Evaporite Research Group, Houston, Texas, (1988)

San Andres Evaporite Depositional Model, presented at AAPG meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, (1988)

The Sedimentology of Salt, Examples from the Palo Duro and Delaware Basins, presented to Geology Department Technical Sessions, (1988)

Marine to Non-Marine Transition in Evaporites, presented to Penrose Conference on Marine Evaporites, Windsor, Ontario, (1988)

Core workshop: Dissolution of Evaporite: Petrologic Evidence of Dissolution and Criteria for Determining Timing, presented to Shell Exploration, (1988)

Halite Pseudomorphs after Gypsum in Bedded Anhydrite-Clue to Gypsum-Anydrite Relationships, presented to Department of Geological Sciences, (1988)

Early Diagenesis in Sulfates, (1987)

Update of Depositional Models for Palo Duro Evaporites and Carbonates, (1986)

Core workshop-overview of U.S. Department of Energy cores, presented at BEG Core Research Center to U.S. Department of Energy, (1985)

Core workshop-overview of U.S. Department of Energy cores, U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, (1985)

Recap of August meeting, presented to U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Columbus, Ohio, (1985)

San Andres Evaporite Depositional Model, presented at AAPG meeting, (1985)

Cyclicity in the San Andres Formation, Palo Duro Basin, New Models, presented at a BEG research seminar, (1984)

Distinguishing between Permian and Post-Permian Dissolution, presented at a SWEC-ONWI-BEG Meeting, (1983)

Cyclicity in the San Andres Formation, presented at a BEG research seminar, (1983)

Diagenesis and Dissolution in Evaporites, Donley and Swisher County Cores, West Texas, presented at a BEG research seminar, (1982)

Graduate and undergraduate research in geologic sequestration of CO2 (Graduate or Undergraduate)
Gulf Coast Carbon Center supports a team of students and post docs working in geologic sequestration (deep subsurface long-duration storage) of the major greenhouse gas CO2, as a method to reduce release to the atmosphere. Student projects are wide ranging, from sedimentology to policy, linked in that they are 1) multidisciplinary and 2) applied to current issues.
Students are typically jointly supervised by faculty in geology or petroleum geosystems engineering and staff at the GCCC. A class in geologic sequestration is offered in the fall some years.