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 Geosciences Advantage
Jackson School of Geosciences alumni are finding opportunities and climbing career ladders in fields and settings that may surprise you.
A new funding program at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics is helping scientists change the world with high risk, high reward research.
UTIG's oldest industrial group has opened the eyes of everyone from school children to leading scientists about how our planet has changed over time.
- Forecasting Quakes
- For Roman- Era Stone Tools, Geology Mattered
- Slow Slip’s Inner Workings
- Aquifer Accounting
- Researchers Promote Innovative Hydrogen Science
- Scientific Cruise Investigates Cascadia’s Sleeping Fault
- Starting Subduction
- Hunting Hurricane Tracks in Louisiana
- Mapping Austin Heat
- Alaska’s Rapidly Thawing Coastal Permafrost
- Overcoming Hydrogen Hurdles
- Creating Counterpoints
- Gulf Coast Carbon Hub
- Age of Earth’s Inner Core Revised
- Playing ‘Asteroids’ in the Early Solar System
- Fractured Bedrock Overlooked Source of CO2
- Texas Earthquake System Strengthens National Network
- ‘Knickpoints’ Could Stall Glacial Thinning
- Climate Extremes Threaten California’s Water
- Protecting Texas — Searching for Sand
- ‘Big Data’ Shrub Census
- Europa’s Icy Plumes
- Origins of Gulf’s ‘Super Basin’ Success
- Hot or Cold, Weather Has Little Influence on Coronavirus Spread
- Dust Confirms Mass Dino Killer
- The Future of Geosciences
- ‘Perplexing’ Fossil Skull is New Species
- Rainstorms Once Filled Martian Lakes
- Dissecting Hill Slopes
- Manatees in Ice Age Texas
- New Research Associates
- Xiaohua “Eric” Xu: Research Associate
- Chenguang Sun: Assistant Professor
- Matthew Malkowski: Assistant Professor
- Dunyu Liu: Computational Geoscientist
- Tucker Hentz: Research Scientist Associate
- Fred Taylor: Senior Research Scientist Emeritus
- Lorena Moscardelli: Principal Investigator at STARR
- William Ambrose: Senior Research Scientist
- Spelunking for Samples
- Search for Sand
- Mapping the White Outdoor Learning Center by Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle
- ATX Science Olympiad Online
- Book: A Concise Guide to Geopressure: Origin, Prediction, and Applications
- Book: A Primer on Machine Learning in Subsurface Geosciences
- Expanding Learning: A Virtual DeFord Series Focuses on Diversity
- Energy Across Borders
- Switch Energy Alliance Holds First International Energy Competition
- Staying Connected With #SummerFORCE
- Mount Bonnell Gets GeoSign
- Zoomerama Carries on Outreach Tradition
Summer Field Camps
In the News
Awards & Honors
- Top Geology Award Goes to Ian Dalziel
- Becker Earns Jackson School a Second Evgueni Burov Medal
- Goudge Named CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar
- Tinker Receives Energy Leadership Award from E&P Magazine
- Matheny Awarded NSF CAREER Grant to Research Water Storage in Trees
- Ketcham Receives Top Thermochronology Prize
- Persad Named Climate Leader
- Student Research Symposium Awards
Geology Foundation Advisory Council
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Update
Dear Alumni and Friends,
I am happy to share this 72nd annual Jackson School of Geosciences Newsletter. Despite the seemingly endless craziness of the pandemic and a winter freeze that shut down Texas for a week, the Jackson School of Geosciences has remained vibrant. The tireless efforts of faculty, research scientists, staff and students, together with the generous support of our alumni and friends, kept the engines of science and education running throughout the past year. Just take a look through this year’s Newsletter and you will see what I mean. From cover to cover, we report on great examples of cutting-edge research vital to the big issues facing society and of a world-class education with student opportunities offered by no other institution.
One thing that jumps out to me as I scan the Newsletter is the breadth and impact of the work being done at the Jackson School. The need for skillful and broadly trained geoscientists has never been greater as societies seek to navigate the simultaneous challenges of climate change impacts and reducing the carbon footprint of our energy systems while meeting the natural resource and energy pressures of a large — and still largely poor — global population. What makes geoscientists so vital in this environment is that we are educated to work on open, complex systems that are often under-defined and in wringing solutions out of incomplete data or knowledge. Many of our former students took those skills to the oil and gas industry, and we are proud of their accomplishments in that arena. We continue to engage the industry through consortia and partnerships and seek to work hand-inhand with our historic partners to take on the challenges of energy production through the 21st century.
The scientific reach of our current faculty, researchers and students across the Earth sciences is impressive. The Jackson School encompasses geosciences across the spectrum of fundamental to applied research, from the core to the cosmos, and we seek to educate our students with the skills and knowledge needed to be leaders across many challenges and themes. Our breadth is apparent in stories such as “Powering the Energy Transition,” on page 32, which shows how the Jackson School’s Bureau of Economic Geology is applying the wealth of oil and gas knowledge it helped build over the last century to lead in the energy transition, with an eye to keep Texas front and center in energy production.
Simultaneously, our students are finding new, and sometimes surprising, ways to use their geoscience educations. I hope you enjoy reading about some of these alumni in “The Geosciences Advantage” on page 56. In a fast-changing world, we must prepare students with important, transferable skills and imbue them with the adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit the new world demands of them.
Take note of our ongoing research on climate and water issues and natural disasters, including right here at home in Austin. The Department of Geological Sciences’ Dev Niyogi, for instance, is helping the city combat extreme heat areas in the urban core (page 18), and researchers at our Institute for Geophysics are helping Austin safeguard its lakes (page 54).
On page 74, we report great news on the reinvigoration of our GeoFORCE Texas outreach program under the leadership of Director Leah Turner, and the promise of our Undergraduate Research Traineeship Experience (RTX) program in helping students transition to college. You can read about the Jackson School’s participation in a worldwide program, Unlearning Racism in Geosciences, that helped 80 Jackson School participants to frame ideas and plans for making the Jackson School a more inclusive and welcoming place. In late breaking news, the Jackson School named its first associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, Professor Julia Clarke. We are extremely excited to welcome Julia, a longtime champion of equity and diversity in the school, to this new position and will report in more detail in other forums soon.
We are pleased to share on page 86 the wonderful news that Professor Ian Dalziel is receiving the prestigious Penrose Medal this fall from the Geological Society of America (GSA). The Penrose Medal is GSA’s top honor and is given to Ian in recognition of his many contributions to science’s understanding of the assembly and breaking apart of the Pangea supercontinent. Finally, we ran all three of our summer field camps this year without a hitch! See page 70.
It is impossible to look at the Newsletter without a sense of pride and the feeling that the Jackson School is a special place. It is special. I am so proud of the people in this school and all they accomplish. I am sure that you share this same pride and joy!
Hook ’em and enjoy,
Claudia Mora, Dean