2019 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.


Out of the Shadows

A new fossil photography technique developed at the Jackson School of Geosciences is revealing scales, hair and other soft tissues, as well as signs of...

The Dean

Sharon Mosher has led the Jackson School of Geosciences for most of its existence. Now that she's stepping down, she leaves behind a thriving, world-class...


From Earth to the Moon

It's been 50 years since astronauts first walked on the moon. UT geoscientists taught them what to look for and helped shape the science of...

El Nino/La Nina Rising

These seasonal climate patterns are responsible for far-reaching and damaging weather events that affect the entire world. The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics is...


Changing the Future of Hydrocarbons

The University of Texas at Austin brings together top-ranked programs and world-class facilities to form a concentration of hydrocarbon expertise focused on profitable, sustainable production...




Field Experiences


Summer Field Camps

In the News

Awards & Honors

FANs Board

Alumni Notes

Library Report


Geology Foundation Advisory Council


Dean's Welcome

Sharon Mosher, Dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences

It is my pleasure to share with you the 2019 Jackson School of Geosciences Newsletter. A tradition now for 66 years, the Newsletter highlights the work and accomplishments of our students, faculty, scientists and alumni. More importantly, it helps tie the Jackson School community together.

This is the 11th and final Newsletter I’ve had the privilege of sharing with you as dean. As most of you already know, I have decided to step down and return to the faculty. An announcement on my successor should be coming very soon, if it hasn’t already happened by the time the Newsletter hits your mailbox.

I can’t even begin to express how much the students, faculty, researchers, staff and alumni at the Jackson School have impacted my life, and I am very proud of all the amazing things they have accomplished during my tenure. This edition of the Newsletter has great examples of the research and education that made the Jackson School the No. 1 Geology program in the country.

The moon landing feature explores Texas geology’s close connection to those early Apollo missions and the role our faculty, scientists and students played in the exploration of the moon. It is a great example of how the geosciences are at the heart of so many of the important stories and issues of our lives.

The article on the university’s hydrocarbon expertise is a great reminder that no matter how much we expand our research and education at the Jackson School, we remain one of the top oil and gas institutions in the world. When you combine the expertise at the Jackson School and the Cockrell School of Engineering, and then add in the law, business and policy expertise the university brings to oil and gas, we are truly a unique institution when it comes to the future of hydrocarbons.

And the story on El Niño and La Niña climate research shows the amazing diversity of world-class science performed at the Jackson School. Here, scientists at the Institute for Geophysics are using coral cores and cutting-edge climate models to determine how changes in climate influence powerful weather patterns that impact our lives.

As I step down from my position as dean, I do so confident in the knowledge that the Jackson School is in a great position and poised to do even greater things under new leadership. With that in mind, I’d like to draw your attention to the profile on Demian Saffer, who will be the new director of the Institute for Geophysics starting in January 2020. I have come to know Demian well over the past few months in his transitional role at the Jackson School, and I am confident that we have found the person with the vision and experience to make UTIG even better than it already is.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the story about the summit for department heads and chairs that we hosted as part of the National Science Foundation-sponsored effort to improve the preparedness of geosciences graduate students for the future workforce. This is one of the two national efforts I am leading to help restructure geosciences education, with the other being focused on undergraduate education. I point this out because I want to assure the Jackson School community that even after I step down, I will still be intimately involved with the geosciences, education and the school we all love.

Enjoy the Newsletter!

Sharon Mosher, Dean