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Read the 2014 Newsletter - A tradition since 1950, the Newsletter highlights research, news and achievements by Jackson School faculty, students, scientists and alumni

Read the 2014 Newsletter

A tradition since 1950, the Newsletter highlights research, news and achievements by Jackson School faculty, students, scientists and alumni

Video: GeoFORCE - Changing lives since 2005

Video: GeoFORCE

Changing lives since 2005

Video: Unveiling Earth's Surface - Airborne lidar at the Jackson School's Bureau of Economic Geology

Video: Unveiling Earth's Surface

Airborne lidar at the Jackson School's Bureau of Economic Geology

Video: Preserving Stories From the Rocks - Bureau of Economic Geology core facility is vital for research and exploration

Video: Preserving Stories From the Rocks

Bureau of Economic Geology core facility is vital for research and exploration

Video: Fire, Ice & Huge Quantity of Potential Energy - Researchers at the Jackson School of Geosciences are leading a project to learn more about frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico

Video: Fire, Ice & Huge Quantity of Potential Energy

Researchers at the Jackson School of Geosciences are leading a project to learn more about frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico

Video: New Stash of Ice Age Fossils

Video: New Stash of Ice Age Fossils

President Barack Obama has honored The University of Texas at Austin’s GeoFORCE Texas program with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, the highest such honor from the United States government. GeoFORCE Texas, an outreach program of...

MAR
27

BEG Friday Seminar Series
9:00 AM

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: March 27, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: March 27, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Dr. Svetlana Ikonnikova
Energy Economist
Bureau of Economic Geology

Abstract:
There are an increasing number of geologists and engineers that have become involved in shale gas research. However, the current fall in oil prices demonstrates how much the demand and funding for our research depends on energy prices. This talk will discuss in what way and to what extent shale gas drilling and profitability depends on economic parameters and how much it relies on other non-economic variables.

The talk will start with an overview of the key drivers for new shale gas/oil well drilling based on the discounted cash flow model. We will review the value of liquids, sensitivity to the natural gas price, and economic limit. Then, we will dig deeper and look at how operators may adjust to prices and keep their profitability by managing completion costs and by rationing drilling locations. The objective is to show in simple terms how economic parameters are integrated with engineering and geologic knowledge to support operator’s decision to drill. The role of geologic uncertainty as well as the knowledge of the major geologic attributes will be addressed.

MAR
27

UTIG Seminar Series: Pedro DiNezio, University of Hawaii
10:30 AM

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: March 27, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: March 27, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Dr. Svetlana Ikonnikova
Energy Economist
Bureau of Economic Geology

Abstract:
There are an increasing number of geologists and engineers that have become involved in shale gas research. However, the current fall in oil prices demonstrates how much the demand and funding for our research depends on energy prices. This talk will discuss in what way and to what extent shale gas drilling and profitability depends on economic parameters and how much it relies on other non-economic variables.

The talk will start with an overview of the key drivers for new shale gas/oil well drilling based on the discounted cash flow model. We will review the value of liquids, sensitivity to the natural gas price, and economic limit. Then, we will dig deeper and look at how operators may adjust to prices and keep their profitability by managing completion costs and by rationing drilling locations. The objective is to show in simple terms how economic parameters are integrated with engineering and geologic knowledge to support operator’s decision to drill. The role of geologic uncertainty as well as the knowledge of the major geologic attributes will be addressed.

UTIG Seminar Series: Pedro DiNezio, University of Hawaii

  Start: March 27, 2015 at 10:30 am     End: March 27, 2015 at 11:30 am
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Yuko Okumura, Yukoo@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0383
 URL:Event Link
"The Climate of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool at the Last Glacial Maximum"

Abstract:

During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), temperatures within the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) were cooler than today and precipitation patterns were altered, but the mechanism responsible for these shifts remains unclear. Previous proxy and model studies have emphasized the role of the Pacific Ocean, in particular changes in the zonal sea-surface temperature gradient driven by greenhouse gas forcing. In my talk I will present results showing the importance of the Indian Ocean, in particular changes driven by lowered glacial sea level. I will explore these ideas combining a network of 100+ proxy records with a multi-model ensemble of LGM simulations. This proxy-model synthesis suggests a key role for changes in tropical convection over the Sunda and Sahul shelves, which were subaerially exposed at the LGM due to the 120 m sea level drop. In the second part I will test this hypothesis using new climate model simulations performed with the Community Earth System Model Version 1 (CESM1). The simulations confirm that the changes in atmospheric circulation are initiated by the exposure of the shelves, in particular the Sahul shelf. More importantly, we find that ocean dynamical processes in the Indian Ocean amplify the response resulting in a large climatic reorganization in which a cold tongue develops in the eastern part of the basin, much like in the modern day Pacific. Last we explore the role of other LGM forcings, such as ice sheets and greenhouse gases (GHG). We find a role for northern hemisphere ice sheets, which explain the drier conditions in the northern part of the IPWP. The response to reduced GHG forcing shows wetter IPWP consistent with a stronger Walker circulation. This response is overwhelmed by the drying driven by sea level and ice sheets and therefore cannot be identified in the proxy data.

Few climate models participating in the Paleo Model Intercomparison Project (PMIP) are capable of simulating this response.


MAR
30

Soft Rock Seminar - David Brown
12:00 PM

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: March 27, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: March 27, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Dr. Svetlana Ikonnikova
Energy Economist
Bureau of Economic Geology

Abstract:
There are an increasing number of geologists and engineers that have become involved in shale gas research. However, the current fall in oil prices demonstrates how much the demand and funding for our research depends on energy prices. This talk will discuss in what way and to what extent shale gas drilling and profitability depends on economic parameters and how much it relies on other non-economic variables.

The talk will start with an overview of the key drivers for new shale gas/oil well drilling based on the discounted cash flow model. We will review the value of liquids, sensitivity to the natural gas price, and economic limit. Then, we will dig deeper and look at how operators may adjust to prices and keep their profitability by managing completion costs and by rationing drilling locations. The objective is to show in simple terms how economic parameters are integrated with engineering and geologic knowledge to support operator’s decision to drill. The role of geologic uncertainty as well as the knowledge of the major geologic attributes will be addressed.

UTIG Seminar Series: Pedro DiNezio, University of Hawaii

  Start: March 27, 2015 at 10:30 am     End: March 27, 2015 at 11:30 am
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Yuko Okumura, Yukoo@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0383
 URL:Event Link
"The Climate of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool at the Last Glacial Maximum"

Abstract:

During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), temperatures within the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) were cooler than today and precipitation patterns were altered, but the mechanism responsible for these shifts remains unclear. Previous proxy and model studies have emphasized the role of the Pacific Ocean, in particular changes in the zonal sea-surface temperature gradient driven by greenhouse gas forcing. In my talk I will present results showing the importance of the Indian Ocean, in particular changes driven by lowered glacial sea level. I will explore these ideas combining a network of 100+ proxy records with a multi-model ensemble of LGM simulations. This proxy-model synthesis suggests a key role for changes in tropical convection over the Sunda and Sahul shelves, which were subaerially exposed at the LGM due to the 120 m sea level drop. In the second part I will test this hypothesis using new climate model simulations performed with the Community Earth System Model Version 1 (CESM1). The simulations confirm that the changes in atmospheric circulation are initiated by the exposure of the shelves, in particular the Sahul shelf. More importantly, we find that ocean dynamical processes in the Indian Ocean amplify the response resulting in a large climatic reorganization in which a cold tongue develops in the eastern part of the basin, much like in the modern day Pacific. Last we explore the role of other LGM forcings, such as ice sheets and greenhouse gases (GHG). We find a role for northern hemisphere ice sheets, which explain the drier conditions in the northern part of the IPWP. The response to reduced GHG forcing shows wetter IPWP consistent with a stronger Walker circulation. This response is overwhelmed by the drying driven by sea level and ice sheets and therefore cannot be identified in the proxy data.

Few climate models participating in the Paleo Model Intercomparison Project (PMIP) are capable of simulating this response.


Soft Rock Seminar - David Brown

  Start: March 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm     End: March 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm
 Location:JGB 3.222

MAR
30

UTIG Special Lecture: Professor Demian Saffer, Penn State University
12:00 PM

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: March 27, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: March 27, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Dr. Svetlana Ikonnikova
Energy Economist
Bureau of Economic Geology

Abstract:
There are an increasing number of geologists and engineers that have become involved in shale gas research. However, the current fall in oil prices demonstrates how much the demand and funding for our research depends on energy prices. This talk will discuss in what way and to what extent shale gas drilling and profitability depends on economic parameters and how much it relies on other non-economic variables.

The talk will start with an overview of the key drivers for new shale gas/oil well drilling based on the discounted cash flow model. We will review the value of liquids, sensitivity to the natural gas price, and economic limit. Then, we will dig deeper and look at how operators may adjust to prices and keep their profitability by managing completion costs and by rationing drilling locations. The objective is to show in simple terms how economic parameters are integrated with engineering and geologic knowledge to support operator’s decision to drill. The role of geologic uncertainty as well as the knowledge of the major geologic attributes will be addressed.

UTIG Seminar Series: Pedro DiNezio, University of Hawaii

  Start: March 27, 2015 at 10:30 am     End: March 27, 2015 at 11:30 am
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Yuko Okumura, Yukoo@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0383
 URL:Event Link
"The Climate of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool at the Last Glacial Maximum"

Abstract:

During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), temperatures within the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) were cooler than today and precipitation patterns were altered, but the mechanism responsible for these shifts remains unclear. Previous proxy and model studies have emphasized the role of the Pacific Ocean, in particular changes in the zonal sea-surface temperature gradient driven by greenhouse gas forcing. In my talk I will present results showing the importance of the Indian Ocean, in particular changes driven by lowered glacial sea level. I will explore these ideas combining a network of 100+ proxy records with a multi-model ensemble of LGM simulations. This proxy-model synthesis suggests a key role for changes in tropical convection over the Sunda and Sahul shelves, which were subaerially exposed at the LGM due to the 120 m sea level drop. In the second part I will test this hypothesis using new climate model simulations performed with the Community Earth System Model Version 1 (CESM1). The simulations confirm that the changes in atmospheric circulation are initiated by the exposure of the shelves, in particular the Sahul shelf. More importantly, we find that ocean dynamical processes in the Indian Ocean amplify the response resulting in a large climatic reorganization in which a cold tongue develops in the eastern part of the basin, much like in the modern day Pacific. Last we explore the role of other LGM forcings, such as ice sheets and greenhouse gases (GHG). We find a role for northern hemisphere ice sheets, which explain the drier conditions in the northern part of the IPWP. The response to reduced GHG forcing shows wetter IPWP consistent with a stronger Walker circulation. This response is overwhelmed by the drying driven by sea level and ice sheets and therefore cannot be identified in the proxy data.

Few climate models participating in the Paleo Model Intercomparison Project (PMIP) are capable of simulating this response.


Soft Rock Seminar - David Brown

  Start: March 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm     End: March 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm
 Location:JGB 3.222

UTIG Special Lecture: Professor Demian Saffer, Penn State University

  Start: March 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm     End: March 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Ian Dalziel, ian@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0431
 URL:Event Link
“In Situ Stress and Pore Pressure Magnitude along Subduction Zone Megathrusts: Integration of Laboratory, Drilling, Geophysical and Numerical Modeling Approaches”

Abstract:

At subduction zones, mechanical loading due to burial and tectonic compression, in combination with the release of bound fluids by dehydration, can drive fluid pressures significantly in excess of hydrostatic. The resulting fluid overpressure drives flow and volatile transport through the forearc, and ultimately affects the strength of fault zones and wall rock, thus mediating in situ stress magnitudes, seismic behavior, and deformation style. Recent advances in documenting pore fluid pressure and effective stress magnitudes at convergent margins have come from drilling, seismic reflection surveys, and numerical modeling. Boreholes penetrating across the plate boundary at several subduction complexes, including Nankai, Costa Rica, and Barbados, have allowed quantification of effective stress and pore fluid pressure from observed compaction state and from laboratory reconsolidation tests on core samples. Likewise, drilling efforts coupled with laboratory measurements of rock strength have also yielded new estimates of in situ horizontal stress magnitude defined on the basis of wellbore failures and direct hydrofracturing experiments. At larger scales, pore pressure and horizontal stress magnitudes have been quantified using P-wave interval velocities from seismic reflection surveys, by application of laboratory- and field-based transforms linking velocity, porosity, and stress state. Numerical models, constrained by laboratory and drilling measurements, provide additional independent constraints on regional-scale pore pressure distribution. Finally, new and ongoing sub-seafloor observatory installations provide direct in situ measurements that serve as essential “ground truth”, while also documenting temporal variations in stress, strain, and pressure.

In total, these approaches show that low effective stress and highly elevated pore pressure (pore pressure ratios of ? = ~0.70–0.95) are common in the vicinity of the subduction megathrust at several margins, and that these conditions extend at least 30-40 km landward of the trench. In some cases, increased seismic reflectivity along the plate boundary is also correlated with regions of expected dehydration reactions or locations of high pore pressure estimated from numerical models, although this link remains unquantified and the underlying cause of the reflectivity is not fully understood. A simple non-dimensional analysis suggests that, globally, elevated pore pressure – and thus mechanical weakness - results from a dynamic balance between (a) geologic forcing that acts to drive pore pressure generation, and (b) hydraulic conductivity and drainage path length, which mediate fluid escape. Taken together, these findings provide a robust, quantifiable, and universal framework for understanding the role of fluids in the absolute strength of subduction megathrusts beneath the outer forearc. The high excess pore pressures and concomitant low effective stresses should suppress the nucleation of unstable slip, consistent with observations of fault failure by slow slip, afterslip, and very low-frequency earthquakes (VLFE) common to this region. Additionally, the low absolute strength of the plate boundary near its trenchward edge may offer an explanation for the propagation of rupture from below, potentially allowing coseismic slip all the way to the trench. Finally, in situ indicators of stress magnitude and orientation suggest that both horizontal stresses and slip on splay thrust faults are transient, and likely tied to the seismic cycle.

more →

Alumni - Tailgates, reunions and continuing education with your fellow alums
Tailgates, reunions and continuing education with your fellow alums
New Salt Tectonics Complex - Honoring Martin Jackson, raising funds towards a newly renovated Salt Tectonics Modeling Complex
Honoring Martin Jackson, raising funds towards a newly renovated Salt Tectonics Modeling Complex
Geoscience Education - Summit on Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education: Summary Report & Survey
Summit on Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education: Summary Report & Survey
GeoFORCE Challenge Match - This endowment has launched to ensure the continuation of this critical program
This endowment has launched to ensure the continuation of this critical program
Work at JSG - The Jackson School is hiring. Apply online.
The Jackson School is hiring. Apply online.
Find a Supervisor - Grad students work with over 70 scientists in 9 research disciplines
Grad students work with over 70 scientists in 9 research disciplines
 
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