William D CarlsonProfessor and Peter T. Flawn Centennial Chair in Geology, Department of Geological Sciences
Prof. Carlson is a metamorphic petrologist and geochemist whose research focus is on the rates and mechanisms of geochemical processes in the deep crust. He joined the faculty of the UT Department of Geological Sciences in 1980, with a B.S. degree from Stanford and a Ph.D. degree from UCLA.
His early studies of mineralogical phase equilibria led into investigations of the kinetics of metamorphic reactions, in order to understand rates of equilibration and scales of disequilibrium in deep-crustal geochemical systems. Central to the success of those efforts was his development of geological applications of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography -- the equivalent of CAT-scanning of rocks, fossils, and meteorites. Along with Profs. Tim Rowe and John Kappelman, he established UTCT, the nation's first X-ray CT facility dedicated to and optimized for scanning of geological specimens; this has grown into a national shared multi-user facility that has been supported since 1999 by the National Science Foundation. For these efforts and for other achievements in mineralogical research, he was awarded the Dana Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America in 2005.
Current NSF-funded research in Carlson's group centers on: understanding the controls on the rates and mechanisms of nucleation in metamorphic systems; determination of hand-sample-scale strain rates at very high temporal resolution; quantification of the kinetics of porphyroblast nucleation and growth, and of the departures from chemical equilibrium that accompany crystallization; and acquisition, evaluation, and synthesis of data on rates of intracrystalline diffusion in garnet, with present emphasis on the application of techniques of computational chemistry (molecular statics, molecular dynamics) to understand the complex controls on diffusion in natural materials.
Carlson's dedication to teaching of undergraduate and graduate students has produced numerous departmental teaching awards, induction into the University's Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and selection for the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Texas System. He is the founder and co-director of the Department's Undergraduate Honors Research Program.
He served as Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences, and as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Natural Sciences, before leading the team that created the organizational charter establishing the Jackson School of Geosciences as an autonomous college-level component of the University.
Areas of Expertise
Field, analytical, and experimental studies of metamorphic petrogenesis, with emphasis on the rates and mechanisms of metamorphic reactions. Geological applications of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography. Analytical and computational studies of intracrystalline and intergranular diffusion.
Current Research Programs & Projects
Facility support: Refurbishing the high-resolution X-ray computed tomography laboratory principal instrument (NSF)
Diffusion of trace elements in garnet: Rates, mechanisms, and theory (NSF)
Facility support: High-resolution X-ray computed tomography laboratory (NSF)
Mechanisms and kinetics of porphyroblast nucleation (NSF)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (2011)
Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award - University of Texas System (2010)
UT Professor of the Month - UT Senate of College Councils (2010)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (2009)
Outstanding Educator Award - Jackson Scholl of Geosciences (2008)
UT Academy of Distinguished Teachers - Univeristy of Texas at Austin (2006)
Dana Medal ("continued outstanding scientific contributions through original research in the mineralogical sciences") - Mineralogical Society of America (2005)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (2005)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Graduate Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (2005)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (2004)
Houston Oil and Minerals Corporation Faculty Excellence Award - Geology Foundation (2001)
Fellow - American Association for the Advancement of Science (2001)
President - Mineralogical Society of America (2000)
Fellow - Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1998)
Honorary Scholarship Award - American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (1997)
Distinguished Lecturer - Mineralogical Society of America (1995)
Fellow - Mineralogical Society of America (1994)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (1994)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (1991)
Teaching Excellence Award - College of Natural Sciences (1989)
Fellow - Geological Society of America (1988)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (1988)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (1985)
Houston Oil and Minerals Corporation Faculty Excellence Award - Geology Foundation (1984)
Teaching Excellence Award - College of Natural Sciences (1982)
Knebel Award for Distinguished Teaching - Department of Geological Sciences (1981)
Mineralogy-Petrology Research Award - Mineralogical Society of America (1981)
Chair, Organizational Charter to Establish Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin (2004 - 2005)
President, Mineralogical Society of America (2000)
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Natural Sciences (1996 - 2000)
Chairman, Department of Geological Sciences (1994 - 1996)
Eric D Kelly
Eric is a metamorphic petrologist who investigates fundamental problems of metamorphism. He applies that knowledge to determine the conditions of metamorphism and the tectonic processes that cause metamorphism. He collects samples in the field to understand the structural and tectonic context of the samples and analyzes them with petrographic, analytical, and numerical techniques. He investigates metamorphic problems from the non-traditional perspective of crystallization occurring under chemical disequilibrium. Traditional methods in metamorphic petrology are tied to the assumption that minerals approach chemical equilibrium during metamorphism. However, increasing evidence invalidates that assumption, and if equilibrium-based techniques are applied to disequilibrium mineral assemblages, the interpretations of geologic history may be erroneous. Departures from equilibrium have profound effects on estimates of pressure, temperature, chemical composition, and time extracted from metamorphic rocks, and his work focuses on quantifying kinetic factors of crystallization to determine the departures from equilibrium that impact interpretations of geologic history. Currently, Eric's research is on determining intracrystalline diffusion rates of petrologically and geochronologically important trace elements in garnet. Garnet is one of the most important metamorphic minerals because of its wide P-T-X stability range and ability to record and preserve chemical zoning acquired deep in the crust. Trace elements (e.g., REEs, Y, Li) in garnet have the potential to reveal the timing and conditions of metamorphism through careful analysis of zoning and well-constrained intracrystalline diffusion rates. However, trace element diffusion rates in natural garnet are poorly constrained at low temperatures (<700 degrees C). Eric is determining these intracrystalline diffusion rates in natural garnets at low temperatures through analytical (EPMA, LA-ICPMS, nano-SIMS) and numerical techniques.
Sarah J Stacy, M.S., expected 2012
Stephanie J Moore, Ph.D., expected 2013
My research interests are focused on small-scale processes in metamorphic systems and include: crystallization of porphyroblasts, chemical equilibrium/disequilibrium, rare-earth element and trace element zoning in garnet, and geochemistry of fluid infiltration.
Ryan Cahalan (Lithium diffusion in garnet from numerical simulation of stranded diffusion profiles in partially resorbed crystals).
Invited: "Compositional and ionic-size controls on the diffusion of divalent cations in garnet: Insights from atomistic simulations", American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, California (2012)
Invited: "Physicochemical controls on reaction kinetics and equilibration: Sometimes turning up the heat doesn't matter much", Geological Society of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2011)
Invited: "Controls on diffusion of divalent cations in garnet: The roles of host-crystal composition and ionic size", Geological Society of America, Denver, Colorado (2010)
Invited: "Nucleation of garnet porphyroblasts", Geological Society of America, Portland, Oregon (2009)
Keynote: "Imaging and in-situ analyses for assessment of metamorphic reaction mechanisms and equilibration", Geochemical Society, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (2008)
Plenary Speaker: "Rocks, fossils and meteorites from the inside out: Geological applications of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography", Pacific Northwest Association for College Physics, Tacome, Washington (2006)
Invited: "Formation of porphyroblastic textures", European Union of Geosciences, Vienna, Austria (2006)
Invited: "Rates of metamorphic processes", Geochemical Society, Melbourne, Australia (2006)
Dana Medal Lecture: "Rates and mechanisms of metamorphic processes from natural occurrences", Geochemical Society, Moscow, Idaho (2005)
Invited: "Modeling crystallization kinetics: Dynamics of metamorphic processes at grain scale", Geological Society of America, Salt Lake City, Utah (2005)
Keynote: "Microstructural influence and control on rates of porphyroblast growth", International Geological Congress, Florence, Florence Italy (2004)
Invited: "REE and Trace-Element Diffusivities in Garnet Determined From Resorption-Induced Stranded Diffusion Profiles", American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, California (2003)
Invited: "Numerical simulation of metamorphic crystallization", Pardee Symposium, Geological Society of America, Seattle, Washington (2003)
Keynote: "Good rocks gone bad: The ubiquity of chemical equilibrium during metamorphism", Metamorphic Studies Group of the Geological Society, London, England (2003)
Invited: "A sampling of applications of X-ray computed tomography using a scanner optimized for geological imaging", European Union of Geosciences, Strasbourg, France (2001)
Presidential Address: "Scales of disequilibrium and rates of equilibration during metamorphism", Mineralogical Society of America, Reno, Nevada (2000)
Keynote: "Visualization and analysis of igneous textures in three dimensions using high-resolution X-ray computed tomography", European Union of Geosciences, Strasbourg, France (1999)
Keynote: "Controls on the nucleation and growth of porphyroblasts", Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Liverpool, England (1994)
Invited: "Rates of intergranular diffusion during metamorphism: Constraints from coupled intergranular and intracrystalline diffusion in garnet", International Mineralogical Association, Pisa, Pisa, Italy (1994)
Invited: "Nucleation and growth of garnet porphyroblasts: Results from high-resolution computerized X-ray tomography", International Geological Congress, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan (1992)
Invited: "Steady-state and non-steady-state mass transfer in coronal reaction textures in metamorphic rocks", International Geological Congress, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan (1992)
Invited: "Polymetamorphism in the Llano Uplift", Geological Society of America, South-Central Section, Houston, Texas (1992)
Keynote: "Implications of porphyroblastic textures on crystallization mechanisms and their petrologic controls", Mineralogical Society of Great Britain, Manchester, England (1990)
Invited: "Local equilibrium and open-system behavior in coronal reaction textures", Harvard University, Symposium in Honor of J.B. Thompson, Jr., Cambridge, Massachusetts (1989)
Invited: "Constraints on the duration of metamorphic episodes provided by compositional profiles in partially resorbed garnets", Mineralogical Association of Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (1987)
Invited: "The polymorphs of CaCO3 and the aragonite-calcite transformation", Mineralogical Society of America, Short Course, Indianapolis, Indiana (1983)
GEO 426P Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (Undergraduate)
GEO 386 Metamorphic Petrology (Graduate)
GEO 390M Thermodynamics of Geologic Processes (Graduate)
GEO 171H, 172H, 173H Research Methods - Honors Program (Undergraduate)
It's wide open... (Graduate or Undergraduate)
Prospective students with an interest in any topic related to the kinetics of deep crustal processes are invited to contact me. If you can come up with good science, we can make it happen!
The Carlson Group
Photos and some links for current members of the Carlson group. To see all photos, click on far-right icon above (the one with 9 little boxes)...