Dr. Kim's research seeks to advance our understanding of stratigraphic responses to sediment transport processes and imposed boundary conditions in depositional basins. The morphodynamics of the sediment-fluid interface are influenced by both depositional mechanics and environmental forcing. Subsurface architecture is a record of the "fossilized" dynamics of this moving boundary. The research interest lies in improving tools for predicting subsurface spatial architecture across a range of scales using an understanding of sediment transport and surface flow dynamics and their time-integrated preservation in depositional systems. Dr. Kim's research group conducts laboratory experiments to study sedimentation over space and time scales that are inaccessible in the field, and use the experimental data to motivate and constrain theoretical models of morphodynamics and depositional patterns. They apply insight gained from physical and mathematical models to field data in order to improve interpretation of paleoenvironments using the stratigraphic record.

Areas of Expertise

Quantitative stratigraphy, Shoreline dynamics, Morphodynamcis, Sediment transport, Deltaic sedimentation, River delta restoration, Coupled mathematical modeling and experimental stratigraphy, Planetary surface processes.


Research Locations



Current Research Programs & Projects

Decoupling tectonic and autogenic controls on the development of cyclic fluvial strata: Flume experiments (ACS)

A Delta Dynamics Collaboratory (NSF)

Continuous vs. episodic fluviodeltaic sedimentation - Implications for carbon sequestration and coastal restoration (NSF)

Development of the next generation of aeolian dune stratigraphic model with application to the Jurassic Norphlet Sandstone (Shell)

Experimental Stratigraphy (RioMar Oil Consortium)

Sea-level rise and vegetation controls on delta landform evolution: A coupled experimental and numerical modeling study (NSF)

Building a sediment experimentalist network (NSF)

Experimental Meanders on Mars (JSG)


2012 Outstanding Paper for Journal of Sedimentary Research - SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) (2013)

Total E&P USA Petroleum Faculty Fellowship in Geological Sciences - Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas (2013 - 2014)

Faculty Science Performance Award - Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas (2013)

Total E&P USA Petroleum Faculty Fellowship in Geological Sciences - Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas (2012)

John E. Brick Elliott Centennial Teaching Fellowship - Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas (2011)

John E. Brick Elliott Centennial Professorship in Geological Sciences - Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas (2010)

2010 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for North American and European Researchers - Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan (2010)

2009-2010 Big XII Faculty Fellowship - University of Texas, Austin (2009 - 2010)

Alvin G. Anderson Award - St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota (2007)

Richard Clarence Dennis Graduate Fellowship - Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Minnesota (2004)

Frank and Julie Tsai Travel Award - St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota (2004)

Outstanding Student Paper Award (Hydrology Section) - American Geophysical Union, 2004 Annual Fall Meeting, San Francisco (2004)

Best Academic Award (Senior) - Earth System Sciences, Yonsei University, Korea (1997)

Best Academic Award (Junior) - Earth System Sciences, Yonsei University, Korea (1996)

Member, Organizing committee, Town Hall: Building a Sediment Experimentalist Network in 2013 AGU Annual Meeting (2013)

Instructor, GeoFORCE, GeoFORCE: 1-week Austin and Florida field trip of the 9th grader GeoForce program (2013 - Present)

Chair, Workshop organizing committee, NSF-funded EarthCube Domain End-User Workshop to Address Community Needs for Sharing and Managing Experimental Data and Techniques: Year 1. Experimental Stratigraphy, University of Texas at Austin, Dec 11-12, 2012 (2012)

Associate Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface (2012 - Present)

Discipline Leader, Sedimentary Geology and Stratigraphy, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas (2011 - Present)

Member, Research conference review committee, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) (2009 - Present)

Member, Organizing committee, Meetings of Young Researchers in Earth Sciences funded by NSF, New Orleans, LA May 2008. (2008)

Graduate Students

Anastasia M Piliouras, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
My research focuses on sediment transport and morphodynamics of fluviodeltaic systems using both physical experiments and field studies. I am interested in the environmental feedbacks that shape the landscape at both large and small scales, and I am currently studying how vegetation affects river delta growth and channel dynamics.

Valentina M Rossi, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
My dissertation focuses on the study of tide-influenced, clean-sand tidal depositional systems: deltas, transgressive shelves and paleostraits. Because tides are an important agent of sand transport and sorting in many shallow marine environments, there are both commercial and scientific interests in improving our knowledge of tide-influenced depositional successions and environments. This work focuses on the architecture, stratigraphy and role of different processes (waves, tides, rivers) in tide-influenced settings. As sedimentologists and stratigraphers we are interested in interpreting the paleo-environmental conditions for tidal deposits, and in particular disentangling the tidal signals from other signals (e.g., storm waves, river currents) within the stratigraphic record in general, and within selected stratal packages. My project is mainly based on outcrop examples of a tide-influenced delta developed in a back-arc basin, and a tidal strait-fill developed in a narrow corridor of extensional/transtensional origin. Additionally, I am collaborating on a project on shelf tidal bodies developed in the Western Interior Seaway.

Julio Leva Lopez, Ph.D., expected 2013 (Supervisor)

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Alexander Aronovitz, M.S. (Supervisor)

Bryant Kopriva, M.S. (Supervisor)

Ellen Reid, M.S. (Supervisor)

Erica Powell, M.S. (Supervisor)


Building a network for sediment experimentalists and modelers (keynote), CSDMS 2013 Annual Meeting, Boulder, CO (2013)

Dynamic sedimentation on deforming salt (Distinguished Lecturer Series), University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (2013)

Dynamic sedimentation on deforming salt, Korea National Oil Corporation, Seoul, Korea (2013)

Sediment Transport and Earth-surface Processes (STEP) basin experiments in 2012-2013, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea (2013)

Morphodynamics: Shaping Earth surface, UT Honors Colloquium, Austin, TX (2012)

Sediment Transport and Earth-surface Processes (STEP) basin experiments in 2011-2012, Korea National Oil Corporation, Seoul, Korea (2012)

Decoupling allogenic forcing from autogenic processes: Experimental geomorphology and stratigraphy, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea (2012)

Sediment Transport and Earth-surface Processes (STEP) basin experiments in 2011-2012, Shell Corp, Houston, TX (2012)

Decoupling allogenic forcing from autogenic processes: Experimental geomorphology and stratigraphy, National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, Minneapolis, MN (2011)

Numerical modeling of the Mississippi River Delta, LCA Science Board, New Orleans, LA (2010)

Land building in the delta of the Mississippi River: Is it feasible?, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA (2010)

Decoupling allogenic forcing from autogenic processes: Clastic and carbonate experimental stratigraphy, AAPG 2010 Annual Convention and Exhibit, New Orleans, LA (2010)

Decoupling allogenic forcing from autogenic processes: Experimental stratigraphy, Norwegian Petroleum Society 2010 Conference, Stavanger, Norway (2010)

Decoupling allogenic forcing from autogenic processes: Experimental stratigraphy, NSF GeoPRISMS Rift Initiation and Evolution workshop, Santa Fe, NM (2010)