2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the Jackson School of Geosciences Newsletter.

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


The Man Behind the School

When Jack Jackson decided to leave his fortune to The University of Texas at Austin, it forever changed the face of geosciences at the university,...

Volcano Forensics

Millions of visitors flock to Yellowstone National Park each year to see its steaming geysers, iridescent pools and carved, rugged landscape. For the last five...


Understanding the Shale Boom

Research at the Jackson School of Geosciences Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) into U.S. shale oil gas production and reserves is widely considered to be...

Sorting Science from Dread

New research shows that risk of serious pipeline accidents overestimated.


Exploring Europa

Jackson School scientists play a key role in NASA's quest to find life-supporting environments on Jupiter's moon.

Slow Slip

Undetected by humans, slow motion earthquakes are happening all over the world. Understanding them could help predict when destructive quakes are coming.


Drought & Deluge

Water is the most precious resource on Earth, but there always seems to be too little or too much of it in Texas. Research at...



Program Spotlight

Field Experiences

Summer Field Camps


In the News

Awards & Honors

Alumni Notes

Library Report


Geology Foundation Advisory Council


Late Memorial

Dean's Welcome

Sharon Mosher, Dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences
Sharon Mosher, Dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences

Time certainly has flown by. It has been 10 years since the Jackson School was elevated to a college-level school, and I can think of no better way to commemorate the milestone than recognizing Jack and Katie Jackson’s visionary investment in this school and the future of Texas.

You will find several touches on the theme in this year’s Newsletter. The cover features the Jacksons and the Wise County gas fields Jack helped pioneer. There’s also a story on page 60 detailing Jack and Katie’s journey from their youth to becoming founders of one of the largest and most prestigious schools of geosciences in the world, and a story on page 34 about Katie being inducted into the Jackson School Hall of Distinction.

I hope you can attend the 10-year symposium on Jan. 22, where we will showcase some of the school’s accomplishments. But even as we take some time to look back, we need to focus firmly on the future. The last 10 years have been great. I think we all share the goal of making the next 10 years even better.

We are currently working on a new five-year strategic plan to help guide the school in the coming years, and I look forward to sharing the details with the Jackson School community soon. My vision is to continue to integrate research and education, especially interdisciplinary, transformative research that advances the geosciences and benefits society.

You will find great examples of exciting research with a positive impact on society throughout the Research Highlights and rest of this issue. I’ll mention just a few — a feature on water resources on page 56, a story on pipeline safety on page 74, and a story on slow slip tectonic research on page 68. All highlight work that holds tremendous value for Texas and the world.

I think it is important to point out the aspect of social relevance because the emphasis fits in perfectly with the Jacksons’ vision. Jack and Katie chose to invest in Texas geosciences and education because of its critical importance to the citizens of Texas. With your continuing support, we will carry on that legacy and continue the mission of making the Jackson School the best school of geosciences in the world.

Sharon Mosher, Dean