Programs & Centers

Center for Computational Geosciences & Optimization

The Center for Computational Geosciences and Optimization addresses modeling of the solid and fluid earth systems, with emphasis on large scale simulation and inversion on supercomputers. Problems of interest include forward and inverse modeling of regional and global seismic wave propagation, mantle convection, atmospheric and subsurface contaminant transport, ocean dynamics, and flow in porous media. Research in the CCGO is conducted jointly with collaborators from the Jackson School of Geosciences, other ICES centers, the College of Engineering, the Department of Computer Sciences, other universities including Carnegie Mellon, Penn, MIT, Columbia, and Emory, and Sandia National Labs. Related inverse and optimization problems in the mechanical and biomedical engineering sciences are also being pursued.

Center for Energy Economics

The Center for Energy Economics (CEE) seeks to educate stakeholders on energy economics and commercial frameworks using comparative research to facilitate energy development. Research focus is on frameworks for commercially viable energy projects and the business-government interface.

Center for Integrated Earth System Science

The Center for Integrated Earth System Science (CIESS) is a cooperative effort between the Jackson School of Geosciences and the Cockrell School of Engineering. The center fosters collaborative study of Earth as a coupled system with focus on land, atmosphere, water, environment, and society.

Center for Integrated Seismicity Research

The TexNet Seismic Observatory and the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research (CISR) at The University of Texas at Austin are multidisciplinary, trans-college research centers managed by the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) and are two vital parts of a whole. The overall goals of the TexNet-CISR collaborative are to collect high-quality data on earthquakes in Texas and conduct fundamental and applied research to better understand naturally occurring and potentially induced earthquakes and the associated risks. Our thoroughly integrated research program is studying the subsurface processes that may influence seismicity that will lead to better quantification of the associated hazards and risks to the citizens and infrastructure of Texas. A primary application of the data and research is to improve standards of practice resulting in the mitigation of seismicity that may stem from industrial activity. The highest priority is fact-based communication with stakeholders and rapid response to public concerns regarding seismicity.

Center for International Energy & Environmental Policy

In 2005, the University of Texas at Austin chartered the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy (CIEEP), to join the scientific and engineering capabilities of the University's Jackson School of Geosciences and the College of Engineering with the LBJ School of Public Affairs. The University's first center dedicated to energy and environmental policy, CIEEP will seek to inform the policy-making process with the best scientific and engineering expertise.

Center for Planetary Systems Habitability

The Center for Planetary Systems Habitability is an interdisciplinary research center at UT and is the result of a partnership between the Jackson School, the College of Natural Sciences, and the Cockrell School of Engineering. The center advances our ability to search for life on other planets by collaborating on research that helps better understand where habitable zones develop and how they evolve within planetary systems.

Gulf Coast Carbon Center

The Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) seeks to apply its technical and educational resources to implement geologic storage of anthropogenic carbon dioxide on an aggressive time scale with a focus in a region where large-scale reduction of atmospheric releases is needed and short term action is possible.

TexNet and the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research

The TexNet Seismic Observatory and its research arm, the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research (CISR) at The University of Texas at Austin, is a multidisciplinary, trans-college research center managed by the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG). The overall goals of the TexNet-CISR collaborative are to collect high-quality data on earthquakes in Texas and conduct fundamental and applied research to better understand naturally occurring and potentially induced earthquakes and the associated risks.

TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program

In its 84th and 85th legislative sessions, the Texas Legislature tasked the Bureau with helping to locate and determine the origins of earthquakes in our state and, where possibly caused by human activity, with helping to prevent earthquakes from occurring in the future. The TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program was established to accomplish these goals.

Advanced Energy Consortium

The Advanced Energy Consortium facilitates research in micro- and nanotechnology for recovery of hydrocarbons from new and existing reservoirs. The primary goal is to develop intelligent subsurface micro and nanosensors that can be injected into reservoirs to characterize the space in 3D and improve recovery of resources.

Applied Geodynamics Laboratory

The Applied Geodynamics Laboratory (AGL) is dedicated to producing innovative new concepts in salt tectonics. This research comprises a mix of physical and mathematical modeling and seismic-based mapping and structural-stratigraphic analysis of some of the world's most spectacular salt basins.

Bars in Tidal Environments

Center for Sustainable Water Resources

The Center for Sustainable Water Resources conducts studies related to water quantity and quality aspects of water resources at local scales using field studies and regional scales using remote sensing and at annual to millennial timescales. Impacts of land use change and climate variability/change are important drivers considered in these studies. The results of these studies will have important implications for development of sustainable water resource programs in different regions.

EDGER Forum (Exploration & Development Geophysics Education & Research)

The Edger Forum is a consortium of industry participants sponsoring Education & Research in Exploration Geophysical Technology.

Exploration Geophysics

The Exploration Geophysics Laboratory (EGL) develops a wide range of technologies using all components of the seismic wavefield, including seismic field-recording techniques, data-processing and data-interpretation procedures, for improved reservoir characterization and prospect evaluation.

Fracture Research and Application Consortium

The Fracture Research and Application Consortium (FRAC) is an alliance of scientists from the Bureau and the departments of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering and Geological Sciences that seeks fundamental understanding of fractures and fracture processes dedicated to conquering the challenges of reservoir fractures.

Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis Project

The UT Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis Project (GBDS) is an ongoing, industry-supported, comprehensive synthesis of Cenozoic fill of the entire Gulf of Mexico basin. The results are distributed as a digital data base that is updated regularly. The project has led to major new contributions to the understanding of the depositional history and framework of the Gulf of Mexico Basin. The project has focused on refining sequence correlations between the continental margin and deep basin stratigraphies, mapping sedimentary transport axes and paleogeographies through time, defining the evolving roles of submarine canyons, retrogradational margins, and shelf-margin delta systems in localizing in time and space sand transport to the slope and abyssal plain, and better understanding regional controls on reservoir facies and their deposition.).

High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility

The High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility at The University of Texas at Austin (UTCT) is a national shared multi-user facility supported by the Instrumentation and Facilities Program of NSF's Earth Sciences (EAR) directorate. UTCT offers scientific researchers across the earth, biological and engineering sciences access to a completely nondestructive technique for visualizing features in the interior of opaque solid objects, and for obtaining digital information on their 3D geometries and properties.

Land, Environment & Atmospheric Dynamics

The LEAD group consists of graduate research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists and visiting scholars. We view the earth system in a holistic way, linking the atmosphere, ocean, biosphere, cryosphere, and solid earth as an integrated system. We use powerful methodologies such as satellite remote sensing and supercomputing simulations which are now profoundly changing research in earth system sciences. We place a strong emphasis on the societal impact of the research in earth system sciences.

Latin America & Caribbean Energy Program

The Latin America & Caribbean Energy Program will create, foster and maintain a regional outreach network that will nurture cooperative and frank discussions of issues related to sustainable development of energy resources and environmental stewardship. The network will include representatives from governments, universities, private sector, multilateral agencies, industry and professional associations and other stakeholders.

Mudrock Systems Research Laboratory

The Mudrock Systems Research Laboratory (MSRL) is dedicated to the twin goals of unraveling fundamental scientific aspects of the most common sedimentary rock type and devising applications of this understanding to the characterization of an important and growing unconventional resource.

Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation

The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) is a national, networked, simulation resource that includes geographically-distributed, shared-use, next-generation experimental research Equipment Sites built and operated to advance earthquake engineering research and education through collaborative and integrated experimentation, theory, data archiving, and model-based simulation. The goal of NEES is to accelerate progress in earthquake engineering research and to improve the seismic design and performance of civil and mechanical infrastructure systems through the integration of people, ideas, and tools in a collaboratory environment. Open access to and use of NEES research facilities and data by all elements of the earthquake engineering community, including researchers, educators, students, practitioners, and information technology experts, is a key element of this goal.

Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory

NPL was created in 1999 as an answer to the increasing conservation and curation issues developing with the huge increase in collection size. Collections placed in the care of TNSC mainly were derived from research at the BEG, the UTDGS and the Museum (TMM) itself. Other material came from orphaned collections within Texas. Numerous other collections have been contributed as donations. Although an exact count has never been made, the collection is estimated to contain about 4 million specimens.

NSF-International Research Experiences for Students


A program of research into plate tectonics and geologic reconstructions, the PLATES Project is supported by an industry consortium. Our primary objectives are to model past and present plate movement, compile comprehensive databases, develop plate motion computer software and apply plate motion models.

Quantitative Clastics Laboratory

The Quantitative Clastics Laboratory (QCL) carries out geologic studies of the processes, tectonics, and quantitative morphology of basins around the world, with research that emphasizes the use of mega-merged 3D seismic data sets for quantitative seismic geomorphologic study of the basin fill, evaluation of source-to-sink relationships between the shelf, slope and deep basin and analyses of the influence of tectonics and fluids on the evolution of these complex continental margin settings.

Remote Sensing of Earth and Planetary Surface and Environment Program

This program will bring visibility to satellite remote sensing research at JSG among funding agencies and peers, and attract students with strong physics and engineering background and interests in using satellite remote sensing technology to study earth-atmosphere processes.

Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory

The Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory (RCRL) seeks to use outcrop and subsurface geologic and petrophysical data from carbonate reservoir strata as the basis for developing new and integrated methodologies to better understand and describe the 3-D reservoir environment.


RioMAR is a collaborative research project between Colorado School of Mines and The University of Texas at Austin focused on shelf & shelf-margin clinoforms, supported on a year-to-year basis by Industrial Associates. The companies (see Sponsors) are interested because we provide them with outcrop images and data that can be useful analogs for their work with subsurface reservoirs in different parts of the world.

State of Texas Advanced Resource Recovery (STARR)

The STARR Mission is to conduct geologic research that results in increasing the production and profitability of oil and gas in the state of Texas.

Structural Diagenesis Initiative

Structural diagenesis is a new perspective on interaction of mechanical and chemical processes at high crustal levels in the Earth. SDI promotes the growth of this new discipline.

Texas Consortium for Computational Seismology

The mission of the Texas Consortium for Computational Seismology is to address the most important and challenging research problems in computational geophysics as experienced by the energy industry while educating the next generation of research geophysicists and computational scientists.

TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program

In the 84th Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature tasked us with helping to locate and determine the origins of earthquakes in our State, and, where they may have been caused by human activity, helping to prevent them from occurring in the future. We have established the TexNet earthquake monitoring program to accomplish these goals, and we plan to place earthquake monitoring stations across Texas to gather information about and study these events as they occur. We want to help inform Texas citizens so that they can keep their property safe from the impact of earthquakes.

UT GeoFluids

The UT GeoFluids studies the state and evolution of pressure, stress, deformation and fluid migration through experiments, theoretical analysis, and field study. This industry-funded consortium is dedicated to producing innovative concepts that couple geology and fluid flow.

Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory

The mission of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory is three-fold, involving research, conservation, and education pertaining to the history of vertebrates. In particular, VPL focuses on the history of vertebrates in Texas and adjacent regions, but much broader studies are also conducted to establish a national and global context for Texas vertebrate history.

Affiliated UT Programs & Centers

Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security

CFSES is one of only two centers out of 46 EFRCs with focus on subsurface energy. Our goal is a scientific understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological subsurface processes from the very small scale to the very large scale so that we can predict the behavior of CO2 and other byproducts of the energy production that may need to be stored in the subsurface. At this aim, we need to integrate and expand our knowledge of subsurface phenomena across scientific disciplines using both experimental and modeling methodologies to better understand and quantify the behavior at conditions far from equilibrium. The unique aspect of our research is the approach of the uncertainty and of the complexity of the fluids in the geologic media from the molecular scale to the basin scale and their integration in computational tools to better predict the long term behavior of subsurface energy byproduct storage.

Center for Space Research

The University of Texas at Austin, Center for Space Research was established in 1981 under the direction of Dr. Byron D. Tapley. The mission of the Center is to conduct research in orbit determination, space geodesy, the Earth and its environment, exploration of the solar system, as well as expanding the scientific applications of space systems data.

Center for Subsurface Energy and the Environment

The Center for Subsurface Energy and the Environment (CSEE) is an organized research unit in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin wtih a mission to foster the development of interdisciplinary programs in subsurface energy and the environment.

Environmental Science Institute

The Environmental Science Institute is a multi-disciplinary institute for basic scientific research in environmental studies founded by The University of Texas at Austin. The Institute serves as a focal point on campus for a wide scope of interdisciplinary research and teaching involving the complex interactions of the biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere in the Earth system, as well as the human dimensions of these interactions.

Texas Advanced Computing Center

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the leading centers of computational excellence in the United States. Located on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, the center's mission is to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies.

UT Austin Energy Institute

The Energy Institute has been established at the University of Texas at Austin to provide the State of Texas and the Nation guidance for sustainable energy security through the pursuit of research and education programs - good policy based on good science. The Institute will determine the areas of research and instruction in consultation with an Institute Advisory Board, faculty and staff at the University of Texas at Austin, the private energy sector, public utilities, non-governmental organizations, and the general public. The economic future of the State of Texas, and our Nation, depends upon the viability of sustainable energy resources. The mission of the Energy Institute is to provide the transformational changes through research and instruction that are required for this State's and Nation's sustainable energy security.

Research Groups

Dynamic Stratigraphy Workgroup

ENCOMPASS: Research for Earth-Society Systems

Morphodynamics and Quantitative Stratigraphy

Structural Diagenesis Initiative