The Geoscientist Spring 2023



Dean's Welcome

Claudia Mora

Welcome to The Geoscientist!

One of our goals with this magazine is to showcase the big, exciting and important work that geoscientists do. There is no better example than this issue’s cover story, which details a mission led by the Jackson School’s Professor Peter Flemings to collect samples of methane hydrate from deep under the Gulf of Mexico. The goal is to better understand this energy-rich substance that contains as much as 20% of the world’s mobile carbon.

Bringing methane hydrates to the surface under the same immense pressure they are found at in nature, as Peter and his team did this summer, is a challenging technical process developed in the earlier years of this project. But bringing these samples up from depths is only the beginning of the scientific discovery. Now, UT researchers and partners that include The Ohio State University, University of Washington, University of New Hampshire, Oregon State University and the United States Geological Survey are conducting tests to learn more about methane hydrate, including how it may respond to a changing climate or how it could someday be used as a source of energy.

I’m so proud of Peter and our collaborators for successfully undertaking this massive effort, with support from the Department of Energy. The permitting, contracts and logistics involved in chartering a drilling rig to the deepwater Gulf are a Herculean effort for a university. But this is how cutting-edge geoscience is done!

The job of creating the next generation of geoscience leaders remains a top priority at the Jackson School, and that can only be accomplished by great teachers. To that end, I want to brag on several educators who are highlighted in the awards section. Professor Jay Banner, who leads our Environmental Science Institute, was honored with the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, which is considered one of the highest honors for teaching in the country. And Jackson School graduate students were among the among the winners of the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. These great teachers are an inspiration to their students and colleagues!

Enjoy The Geoscientist!

Claudia S Mora (Signature)



Claudia Mora, Dean