Geochemistry/Thermo- & Geo-chronology

Researchers in this area use geochemical tracers to reconstruct the thermal history of rocks; characterize ancient environments and climates; reveal the interactions between climate, soils, and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels; and decipher fluid-rock interactions and mestasomatism at high temperature, relationships between metamorphic processes and deformation, and volatile transport in subduction zones to aid in quantifying geochemical cycles.


Our major research areas & groups in geochemistry include:

  • Major & Trace Element Geochemistry
  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry
  • Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry
  • Aqueous & Microbial Geochemistry
  • Gas Geochemistry
  • Organic Geochemistry
  • Thermo- & Geo-chronology

We offer numerous analytical services in isotopic geochemistry to customers outside the university. For a list of services and contacts, visit: Analytical Services in Isotope Geochemistry

Faculty

Jay L Banner

Jay L Banner

Isotopic methods, groundwater, oceans, ancient oceans, climate change, aquifers, caves, environmental science, geochemistry, paleoclimatology
Jaime D Barnes

Jaime D Barnes

Stable isotope geochemistry, metamorphism and volatile transport in subduction zones, fluid-rock interaction and metasomatism, geochemical cycling, stable chlorine isotopes
Philip C Bennett

Philip C Bennett

Aqueous geochemistry, geomicrobiology, environmental and microbial geochemistry, hydrogeology
Daniel O Breecker

Daniel O Breecker

The Breecker Group studies biogeochemical processes occurring at or near the land surface. We study soils and paleosols, caves and stalagmites, and other materials, such as volcanic glass, that give us insight into ancient Earth. We study timescales ranging from seasonal cycles to hundreds of millions of years. We use ...
James E Gardner

James E Gardner

Volcanology, volcanic eruption processes, magmatic processes, experimental petrology, volatiles in magmas, degassing of volatiles from magmas, control of degassing behavior on volcanic eruptions and formation of ore bodies
Richard A Ketcham

Richard A Ketcham

High-resolution X-ray computed tomography, CT scanning, 3D image analysis, fission-track dating, thermochronology, structural geology, tectonics, digital morphology, trabecular bone
John C Lassiter

John C Lassiter

Earth's origin and evolution, isotope and trace element geochemistry, the role of crust and lithospheric mantle recycling in the generation of mantle chemical heterogeneity, the origin and distribution of water and other volatile elements in the Earth's interior, and the thermal and chemical evolution of the Earth's core and core/...
Terrence M Quinn

Terrence M Quinn

Paleoclimate, climate, climate change, climate dynamics, paleoclimatology, paleoceanography, sedimentary geology and geochemistry
Timothy M Shanahan

Timothy M Shanahan

The Shanahan research group uses a combination of geochemical and stable isotopic proxy reconstructions of past climate, in combination with climate model simulations, to understand past and future climate change. Our primary focus is the use of organic geochemical and stable isotopic techniques applied to marine, lacustrine and terrestrial sediment ...
Danny  Stockli

Danny Stockli

Thermo-/Geochronology, Tectonics and Structural Geology, Isotopic Provenance Analysis, Archeometry, Geothermal Exploration, and Thermal Maturation
Chenguang  Sun

Chenguang Sun

Deep volatile cycling; magmatic and metamorphic processes; planetary differentiation and habitability

Lecturers

Staci L Loewy

Staci L Loewy

Christopher  Lowery

Christopher Lowery

Micropaleontology, Stratigraphy, Paleoceanography, Geochemistry
Nathaniel R Miller

Nathaniel R Miller

Sedimentary geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, Earth system evolution, Q-ICP-MS, microanalytics, GIS, Neoproterozoic climate [link: http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/news/2018/05/new-research-suggests-that-dawn-of-plate-tectonics-could-have-turned-earth-into-snowball/]
Judson W Partin

Judson W Partin

Paleoclimate, Stable and Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry, climate change
Darrel M.  Tremaine

Darrel M. Tremaine

Sustainable Urban Systems - Water and Energy Security - Urban Water Quality - Cave and karst exploration - Speleothem and karst trace element chemistry - Speleothem and karst stable and radiogenic isotopes - Paleoclimate and paleohydrology reconstructions - Environmental chemistry - Design of electromechanical field instrumentation - Cave monitoring and ...

Emeriti

Douglas  Smith

Douglas Smith

Research on mantle evolution using tools of mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry.

Research Scientists

Ian J Duncan

Ian J Duncan

Expertise in geomechanic and geochemistry applied to: risks associated with CO2 sequestration; hydraulic fracturing for shale gas production; environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing; and the water-energy nexus. Current research focuses on the scientific, environmental and public policy aspects of unconventional natural gas production, the water-energy nexus, and carbon capture and ...
Peter  Eichhubl

Peter Eichhubl

Fault and fracture mechanics, diagenesis and low-temp. geochemistry, fluid flow and transfer processes in sedimentary basins, deformation mechanisms of the upper crust, structural control of mass and heat transfer in sedimentary basins, effects of chemical mass transfer on the mechanical and hydraulic behavior of fractures and faults, chemical interaction between ...
Andras  Fall

Andras Fall

Fluids in diagenetic and hydrothermal systems, Fluid inclusions, Fractures, Structural diagenesis
Toti E Larson

Toti E Larson

Jean Nicot

Jean Nicot

Subsurface hydrology, numerical modeling and optimization of groundwater resources, multiphase flow and contaminant transport in both the unsaturated and saturated zones, geochemistry modeling and subsurface reactive transport, Mathematical geology, geostatistics, inverse modeling, optimization, risk assessment and risk analysis
Judson W Partin

Judson W Partin

Paleoclimate, Stable and Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry, climate change
Stephen C Phillips

Stephen C Phillips

methane hydrates, sediment biogeochemistry, environmental magnetism, paleoceanography
Cornelia  Rasmussen

Cornelia Rasmussen

Paleoecology, geobiology, geochemistry, geochronology, sedimentology
Katherine D Romanak

Katherine D Romanak

Geochemistry and isotope systematics of carbon cycling in the vadose zone and in freshwater aquifers; soil-gas monitoring and surface gas flux measurements at CO2 sequestration sites; microbial influences on carbon geochemistry in the shallow subsurface; fate and transport of organic contaminants.

Research Staff

Staci L Loewy

Staci L Loewy

Christopher  Lowery

Christopher Lowery

Micropaleontology, Stratigraphy, Paleoceanography, Geochemistry
Nathaniel R Miller

Nathaniel R Miller

Sedimentary geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, Earth system evolution, Q-ICP-MS, microanalytics, GIS, Neoproterozoic climate [link: http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/news/2018/05/new-research-suggests-that-dawn-of-plate-tectonics-could-have-turned-earth-into-snowball/]
Lisa D Stockli

Lisa D Stockli

U-Pb Geochronology and trace element analysis by LA-ICP-MS; TIMS and SIMS techniques
Darrel M.  Tremaine

Darrel M. Tremaine

Sustainable Urban Systems - Water and Energy Security - Urban Water Quality - Cave and karst exploration - Speleothem and karst trace element chemistry - Speleothem and karst stable and radiogenic isotopes - Paleoclimate and paleohydrology reconstructions - Environmental chemistry - Design of electromechanical field instrumentation - Cave monitoring and ...

Graduate Students

Claudia  Banks

Claudia Banks

I am interested in defining the provenance history and paleodrainage record of the Amazon River in Brazil and Ecuador; more specifically, how modern Ecuador signals compare to ancient Brazil signals; the time it takes for source sediment from the modern Andes to show up in the Amazon fan to determine ...
Sarah  Brooker

Sarah Brooker

Kristina  Butler

Kristina Butler

I am a field-based sedimentologist and geochronologist who uses sedimentary basin records to understand the drivers and consequences of mountain building. My current research focus is sediment routing and foreland basin evolution of Northern Patagonia. I combine a variety of provenance techniques (sandstone petrography, detrital zircon U-Pb, Lu-Hf and trace ...
Ethan M Conrad

Ethan M Conrad

I am a third year PhD student advised by Dr. Claudio Faccenna and Co-advised by Dr. Nicola Tisato, Dr. Daniel Stockli and Dr. Thorsten Becker. My research interests include structural geology, tectonics, fault mechanics, and tectonic geomorphology. I use field observations, thermochronology and laboratory experiments to study how landscapes deform ...
Scott A Eckley

Scott A Eckley

I am interested in the evolution of the terrestrial bodies, specifically the Earth, Moon, Mars, and Vesta.
Megan E Flansburg

Megan E Flansburg

My primary research interests lie in structural geology, high-temperature thermochronology, and geochemistry and how these three realms of geoscience help build holistic tectonic histories at scales from microscopic relationships up to tectonic plates and paleogeography. My Ph.D. research (supervisor: D. Stockli) is focused on differentiating ductile fabrics of similar ...

Stephanie R Forstner

Structural geology Fluid inclusion petrography & microthermometry Geochemical fluid-rock interactions Diagenesis

Zachary Foster-Baril

Hector K Garza

Hector K Garza

My research interests encompass a broad range of approaches incorporating geochemistry, geochronology, paleontology, stratigraphy, and sedimentology to understand major geologic and evolutionary events in Earth's history. Currently, I am researching the precise timing of early land colonization during the Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian periods. I am also investigating the potential ...
Kiara  Gomez

Kiara Gomez

I am generally interested in the applications of biological markers (biomarkers) and geochemistry to address questions in geology
Evelin G Gutierrez

Evelin G Gutierrez

My current research is focused on sediment routing systems at various temporal and spatial scales. I am interested on elucidating how these systems respond to allogenic controls in sedimentary basins as well as understanding the impact on the structural setting, stratigraphy and hydrocarbon systems of the basin.
Emily Hinshaw

Emily Hinshaw

My research focuses on the Ambelakia blueschists of Mt. Pelion, Mt. Ossa, and Mt. Olympos, Greece. I'm interested in determining the protolith and its subsequent subduction/metamorphic history.

Hoss Hostettler

Scarlette  Hsia

Scarlette Hsia

PhD student in Geology at the University of Texas at Austin! My primary interests include carbonate facies mapping, sedimentology, paleo-sea level reconstruction, stratigraphy, STEM outreach, canoeing, and scuba diving. If you are an undergraduate student seeking research opportunities and advice, feel free to contact me!
Cullen D Kortyna

Cullen D Kortyna

I am broadly interested in the controls on and dynamics of sediment routing systems. I investigate this at both the sedimentary basin scale, where I apply detrital geo-thermochronometry and other sedimentary provenance techniques, and at the outcrop scale, where I apply sedimentological and stratigraphic techniques, to evaluate sedimentary system response ...
Joshua Malone

Joshua Malone

My PhD research explores sedimentary basin development with associated orogenic processes. I integrate methodologies like detrital zircon geochronology and Lu-Hf dating to evaluate Paleozoic crustal and basin evolution in Northern Patagonia. My research interests include structural geology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, field mapping, and geochronology. Recent and ongoing research projects include: - ...

Nicholas F Meszaros

Nicholas J Montiel

Matthew B Nix

Matthew B Nix

I began my Masters in August of 2019 with a project field site located near Fernie, British Columbia. My project is focused on conducting a basin analysis study by integrating a source to sink understanding that utilizes sub-disciplines consisting of sedimentology, geochronology, stratigraphy, structural geology, and tectonics. Outcomes of the project ...
Eirini M Poulaki

Eirini M Poulaki

My research is focused on understanding the evolution of Mediterranean-style subduction zones with constraints from exhumed subduction complexes at the Betic Cordillera (Southern Spain) and Sikinos and Ios islands (Cyclades, Greece). My approach is to integrate a suite of geochronologic and geochemical analyses on zircon, apatite, and rutile, including U-Pb ...
Sebastian  Ramiro Ramirez

Sebastian Ramiro Ramirez

Sebastian started his PhD program at UT in 2016. He is interested in petrographic, geochemical and petrophysical studies of mudrocks, and is currently working on porosity and permeability experiments in the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring formations, Delaware Basin.
Catherine  Ross

Catherine Ross

I study punctuated events in Earth's history using field observations, geo/thermochronology, microstructural analysis, and geochemistry. I am broadly interested in how deformation and sedimentation on the seconds to days timescales are expressed in the rock record. My first project involves dating the Chicxulub target rock, which is ...

George H Segee-Wright

Stacie  Skwarcan

Stacie Skwarcan

Victoria L Todd

Victoria L Todd

Alison Tune

Alison Tune

See a description of my research interests here : [https://alisontune.github.io/]

General Theory

GEO 376C/388L Isotope Geology (taught each Fall by Ketcham & Barnes)

Survey of stable and radiogenic isotopes and their use. This broad course can either be a full introduction to the subject for students whose research will overlap with geochemistry but will not be specializing in it, or a springboard for further study.
GEO 390M Thermodynamics of Geologic Processes(Taught every other fall (even years) by Carlson)

Introduction to general thermodynamics, with emphasis on geochemical aspects.

Analytical

GEO 390S Analytical Methods: Mass Spectrometry (taught each Spring by Miller & Loewy)

Survey course of 5 mass spec techniques (TIMS, ICP-MS, LA-ICP-MS, MC-ICP-MS, IRMS), and their applications.
GEO 391 Fundamentals and Applications of ICP-MS (taught each Fall by Miller)

Fundamentals of ICP-MS, applications and capabilites; hands-on (50-50 lecture/lab).
GEO 390R Analytical Methods: Electron-Microbeam Techniques (taught each Fall by Zhao)

Microprobe course, plus additional e-beam techniques such as SEM and XRD.

Applied

GEO 391 Geochronology (taught each Spring by Stockli)

Geochronology and applications.
GEO 391 Thermochronology (taught Fall by Stockli & Ketcham)

Thermochronology and applications.
GEO 388R Advanced Thermochronology (taught every other Spring (even years) by Stockli & Ketcham)

Current topics in thermochronology, and computational modeling.
GEO 376E/388H Environmental Isotope Geochemistry (taught every other Spring by Breeker)

Theory of stable isotope fractionation and radiogenic isotope systematics, applied to problems in low-T geochemistry.
GEO 371C/388G Global Biogeochemical Cycles (taught Fall (failed to meet previous 2 years) by Shanahan)

Chemistry of surface of Earth, focusing on biochemical processes and interactions with the global climate system.
GEO 391 Paleoclimate (taught by Shanahan)

Introduce grad students to field of paleoclimatology, using geologic archives from ocean, land, and cryosphere.
GEO 387C/476M Chemical Hydrogeology (taught Spring by Bennett)

Chemistry of water in the subsurface. Topics include basic thermodynamics and kinetics of rock-water interaction, acid-base theory, redox, and coordination chemistry.
GEO 386K Igneous Petrology (taught every other Spring by Gardner)

Geochemistry of magmas, geochemical and thermodynamic modelling, MELTS.
GEO 386K Metamorphic Petrology (taught every other Spring (odd years) by Carlson)

Survey course in metamorphic petrology.
GEO 391 Meteoritics/Early Solar System Processes (taught every other Fall by Lassiter)

Survey course in metamorphic petrology.
GEO 376T/388T High-Temperature Geochemistry (taught every other Fall by Lassiter)

Isotope and trace element geochemistry. Emphasis on origin and evolution of Earth interior.
GEO 386E Economic Geology (taught every other year (next F13) by Kyle)

Overview of the geologic controls for the formation of and economic constraints affecting non-fuel mineral resources.
GEO 381R Regional Studies in Mineral Resources Geology (taught every spring, per demand (next S14), taught by Kyle)

Integrated study of a major geologic province, in the context of mineral resources; international field trip course.

Suggested Course Sequences

Graduate and undergraduate research in geologic sequestration of CO2

Graduate
Gulf Coast Carbon Center supports a team of students and post docs working in geologic sequestration (deep subsurface long-duration storage) of the major greenhouse gas CO2, as a method to reduce release to the atmosphere. Student projects are wide ranging, from sedimentology to policy, linked in that they are 1) multidisciplinary and 2) applied to current issues. Students are typically jointly supervised by faculty in geology or petroleum geosystems engineering and staff at the GCCC. A class in geologic sequestration is offered in the fall some years.
Posted by: Susan Hovorka

Innovative Detrital Provenance Studies - Double Dating PLUS

Graduate
A major thrust of my current research the development and application of more comprehensive isotopic detrital provenance tools. U-Pb on zircon is clearly the big work horse, but only goes so far and sometimes yields "no" useful info, e.g., if the source of the sediment is mostly recycled sediment. We have extensively pursued double dating of zircons by U-Pb and He, as zircon He ages yield very interesting insights into the thermal and tectonic history of the source terrane; often yielding very different insights than crystallization ages. The combination is powerful, but I think we can take things so much farther by combining double dating with other constrains. People have tried fission track (not precise enough), Hf/Hf (to get mantle separation model ages), etc., but what we want to do and are working on is really Double Dating ++, combining zircon U-Pb-He dating with a variety of other geochemical aspects to more comprehensive understand detrital provenance and improve paleo-tectonic reconstructions. For example, trace-element thermometry (Ti in zirc), REE on zircon (met vs mag origin), Hf/Hf (see above), oxygen isotopes, etc. and also to develop rutile in an analogous manner (e.g., Zr in rut thermometry, Cr/Nb ratio (mafic vs granulitic), REE, etc.). The sky is the limit and what can learn so much. The issue in part it, how much can a single grain tell us before it's gone? The project sounds very laboratory oriented, but it's really a combination of field and lab work. We have identified a few possible case study areas, e.g., Morocco; great exposures, long-lived and preserved record of basin deposition since the Precambrian. My group is already working on some case studies in NW Himalayas, the N & S Pyrenees, the Sevier FTB, Permian Basin and other foreland basin. New projects include provenance studies along rifted and passive continental margins such the Gulf of Mexico, the central Atlantic Margins in Canada, USA, Portugal, and Morocco.
Posted by: Daniel Stockli

Research in structural geology and diagenesis

Graduate
Fundamental and applied research on fractures, particularly as these studies apply to petroleum reservoirs, is conducted under the auspices of the Fracture Research and Application Consortium at The University of Texas at Austin. The academic program of research, mentoring and teaching is led by staff of the Bureau of Economic Geology, the Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering and the Department of Geological Sciences. Students in the Energy & Earth Resources Graduate Program also participate in FRAC sponsored research projects. For further information on opportunities for fracture studies within the program see the FRAC pages on opportunities in Geology, Petroleum Engineering, Geophysics, and Energy Economics. FRAC welcomes Visiting Scientists from industry and from other academic institutions. Contact Steve Laubach for more information about these opportunities. A key part of the FRAC academic program is the Structural Diagenesis Initiative, a new teaching and mentoring perspective on interacting mechanical and chemical processes at high crustal levels in the Earth. For more information on the initiative see the Structural Diagenesis Initiative web site. If you are a prospective student, please see the admissions information on the Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering or Jackson School of Geosciences web sites.
Posted by: Stephen Laubach

Laser ablation (U-Th)/He and 4He/3He dating of zircon and apatite

Graduate
Seeking motivated Ph.D. students interested in noble gas geo-thermochronology and geochemistry to pursue project in method development and application of laser ablation (U-Th)/He dating and depth profile 4He/3He thermochronometry of zircon and apatite. Our laboratory has a dedicated noble gas extraction line with a SFT magnetic sector noble gas mass spectrometer and dedicated Excimer Laser. The lab also houses two Element2 magnetic sector single collector ICP-MS instruments with a second Excimer laser as well as a state-of-the-art Bruker optical interferometric microscope. The project will develop laser ablation methodology to recover detailed thermal histories from apatite and zircon by laser ablation (U-Th)/He and 4He/3He dating as well as comparison to step-heating fractional loss experiments.
Posted by: Daniel Stockli

LA-ICP-MS single-pule U-Pb depth profiling recovery of thermal histories

Graduate
Seeking motivated Ph.D. students interested in in-situ geochronology to pursue project in method development and application of laser ablation continuous mode or single-pulse U-Pb LA-ICP-MS geo-thermochronology as well as trace element speedometry to constrain thermal history or lower and middle crustal rocks. The UTChron Geo- and Thermochronometry laboratory houses two Element2 magnetic sector single collector ICP-MS instruments with a large-volume cell Excimer laser system, ideally suited for depth profiling and U-Pb and trace element split stream analysis. The laboratory also houses a Bruker optical interferometric microscope to control laser ablation rates as well as a Raman system. The focus of applications is on method development and application to the exhumation of middle and lower crustal rocks in rifted margin settings.
Posted by: Daniel Stockli

Hydrogeochemical investigations in urban riparian zones

Graduate
Hydrogeochemical investigations in urban riparian zones
Posted by: Darrel Tremaine

Speleothems and cave monitoring

Graduate
Speleothems and cave monitoring
Posted by: Darrel Tremaine

Dendrochronology and dendrochemistry

Graduate
Dendrochronology and dendrochemistry
Posted by: Darrel Tremaine

Sustainable Urban Systems

Graduate
Sustainable Urban Systems
Posted by: Darrel Tremaine

Electromechanical instrumentation design

Graduate
Electromechanical instrumentation design
Posted by: Darrel Tremaine

PhD/MS/Internship opportunities

Graduate
My group welcomes new students with strong motivations on understanding how solid Earth and planets operate and its impacts on shaping habitable surface environments. Prospective students are expected to have a STEM background. If these describe you, feel free to contact me through email for position openings in my group.
Posted by: Chenguang Sun

Stable isotopes as hydroclimatic indicators

Undergraduate
I am looking for an undergraduate student researcher to work on the analysis of stable isotopes in natural waters and plant materials. No experience necessary. The student researcher will be trained in extracting water samples on a vacuum system and analysis of stable isotopes using a laser spectrometer. Depending on progress, there may be opportunities to publish this research
Posted by: Timothy Shanahan

Paleoclimate reconstructions in the southern Rocky Mountains

Undergraduate
I am looking for one or more undergraduate student researchers to work on paleoclimate reconstructions in the southern Rockies using geochemical indicators in lake sediments. No experience necessary. Depending on progress, there will be opportunities to publish.
Posted by: Timothy Shanahan

(U-Th)/He Geo- and Thermochronometry Lab

(U-Th)/He Geo- and Thermochronometry Lab

The UT (U-Th)/He Geo- and Thermochronometry Laboratory is a state-of-the art facility for the development of (U-Th) dating and its applications to tectonics, petrology, volcanology, stratigraphy, geomorphology, and geoarcheology. The facility houses: (1) 3 fully-automated UHV He extraction lines with 2 diode lasers, 1 Nd:YAG lasers, cryogenic purification systmes, quadrupole mass-specs, and step-heating apparati for diffusion measurements, (2) a Helix SFT magnetic sector noble gas mass-spectrometer with automated UHV gas extraction system with diode and excimer laser, (3) two Element2 HR-ICP-MS instruments for solution and laser ablation analysis for thermo- and geochronometery, as well as a dedicated clean room and sample preparation laboratories.

Analytical Geochemistry Lab

Analytical Lab for Paleoclimate Studies

Analytical Lab for Paleoclimate Studies

The Jackson School of Geosciences now has four stable isotope laboratories. UTIG Director and DGS faculty member Terry Quinn supervises one of these labs: ALPS. The ALPS houses two, state-of-the-science, Thermo isotope ratio mass spectrometers and an Inductively Coupled Plasma-spectrometer (ICP).

Aqueous Geochemistry Lab

Characterizes the chemical properties of water and solids to support research in hydrogeology, geochemistry, and geomicrobiology. Equipment used: carbon analyzer (TC), Organic analysis Field and laboratory gas chromatographs, thermal desorber, high pressure liquid chromatographs, Inorganic analyses Ion chromatograph, autotitrator, field and lab spectrophotometers. BET sorptometer for N2, Ar, and Kr BET surface areas, and A microporosities, organic carbon analyzer.
Electron Microprobe

Electron Microprobe

Installed in 2002-2003, the JEOL JXA-8200 electron probe microanalyzer (EPMA) is equipped with five wavelength dispersive spectrometers (WDS), an energy dispersive detector (EDS), and two image detectors in secondary and backscattered electron modes. The primary aim of the microprobe is quantitative elemental analysis of minerals on a microscale with high precision (less than a percent relative for major constituents) and low detection limits (commonly a few tens to few hundreds ppm)
Fission Track Thermochronology Laboratory

Fission Track Thermochronology Laboratory

Enables analysis of fission tracks in apatite and zircon to constrain the low-temperature time-temperature (t-T) history of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.
Fluid Inclusion Lab (BEG)

Fluid Inclusion Lab (BEG)

Principal equipment includes: an Olympus BX 51 optical microscope, fitted for use with transmitted, reflected and UV light; a FLUID, Inc.-adapted USGS-type gas flow heating/cooling stage; a Linkam THMSG 600 degree C programmable heating/cooling stage; and a digital camera. The lab is fully equipped with sample preparatory facilities for preparation of doubly-polished thin and thick sections. The lab will soon incorporate an experimental hydrothermal lab component that will include 6 externally-heated cold-seal pressure vessels (up to 800C, up to 700 MPa) used for the preparation of synthetic fluid inclusions and for quartz cement growth experiments.
Fluid Inclusion Lab (DGS)

Fluid Inclusion Lab (DGS)

The fluid inclusion laboratory is based around a modified USGS-type gas-flow heating/freezing stage capable of microthermometry of fluid inclusions over a range of 700° to -180°C. The stage is mounted on an Olympus BX51 microscope with a 40X long-working distance objective, 2X image magnifier, and digital camera for image capture. The microscope also has capability for UV fluorescence petrography. Complementary facilities are available for reflected and transmitted light petrography and image capture.

Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Laboratory

Gas Geochemistry Lab

This lab provides the following geochemical analysis capabilities: 1) Wasson-ECE Agilent 7890A gas chromatograph for gas compositional analysis of natural gas, soil gas, dissolved gas, and rock crushed gas; 2) Shimadzu QP2010S GCMS for liquid hydrocarbon compositional analysis of oil, solvent extracts, soil contaminants; 3) TharSFC H/PT apparatus Gas solubility measurement under high temperature and pressure conditions; 4) A high temperature and pressure gas adsorption system for gas adsorption isotherm analyses; 5) SA 3100 Surface Area Analyzer for surface area and pore size distribution analysis in porous rocks and mediums; 6) Foss Soxlet 2403 automatic extraction system for hydrocarbon extraction from soils, oil-bearing source rocks, and sandstones and carbonates; and 7) DIONEX ICS-1100 ion chromatography system for ion concentration analysis of brines.
High Temp. Stable Isotope Lab

High Temp. Stable Isotope Lab

This newly renovated lab is overseen by Jaime Barnes and houses a ThermoElectron MAT 253 with associated peripheral devices and instrumentation (TC/EA, GasBench II, Conflo IV, online silicate laser extraction line, general purpose vacuum extraction lines, Cl purification line). Instrumentation permits measurements of the stable H, C, N, O, S, and Cl isotope ratios of silicate, phosphate, and carbonate minerals, volcanic gases, air, and waters

HPLC Mass Spectromtery Laboratory

HR-ICP Mass Spectrometers

Equipment available: Thermo Element2 HR-ICP-MS with ESI autosampler system for solutions; and Thermo Element2 HR-ICP-MS with Photonmachines Analyte G2 Excimer laser ablation system.
Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy

Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy

This lab uses Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) analyses to measure dissolved water and carbon in natural and experimental silicate glasses. The lab is equipped with a Thermo Electron Nicolet 6700 FTIR spectrometer and Continuum IR microscope, equipped with automated x-y-z stage and stage purge system so that the spectrometer, microscope, and sample position are all purged with dry air that has <10 ppm CO2 for very precise measurements of CO2 poor glasses. Dedicated polishing facilities are also available for sample preparation.

Isotope Clean Lab (Banner)

The Isotope Clean Lab is a 600 square foot clean chemistry lab with seven Class-100 workspaces for preparation of rock, mineral, soil, plant and water samples for chemical and isotopic analysis under low-contamination conditions.
Isotope Clean Lab (Lassiter)

Isotope Clean Lab (Lassiter)

Within the Department of Geological Sciences there are three clean-room laboratories supplied with HEPA-filtered class 100 air where sample preparation and ion-exchange chromatography for isotopic analysis may be done under ultra-clean conditions, making possible very low analytical blanks (e.g., < 1 pg Pb for U-Pb geochronology, and <10 pg Sr). There are also two other laboratories with HEPA-filtered work stations where sample preparation and ion-exchange chromatography are performed. These labs are affiliated with the Mineral Separation Facility (see description).

Mineral Separation Facility

Includes shatterboxes for sample pulverization, a crusher, a disc mill pulverizer, a Rogers table, a Wilfly table, a mica table, sieves, heavy liquids and Franz magnetic separators for mineral separation.

Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS)

The MC-ICP-MS facility is centered around a Nu Instruments Nu Plasma 3D MC-ICP-MS featuring 6 Daly detectors for simultaneous measurement of multiple low abundance isotopes, in addition to 16 stationary Faraday cups, enhanced abundance transfer sensitivity optics (EATO) and dry scroll pumps. It is installed in a positively pressured, hepa-filtered, clean lab and supported by two clean chemistry labs for dissolution of samples and isolation of specific elements for isotope analyses. Samples may be introduced as a solution using the DSN100 desolvating nebulizer or as a solid using an Elemental Scientific Lasers (ESL) NWR193 laser. The facility regularly analyzes Li, Pb, Hf isotopes, parent isotopes Lu, Sm, and Rb for isotope dilution analyses (Sr and Nd measured by TIMS), and Lu-Hf in zircon by laser ablation. We are developing methods for multi-Daly measurement of low abundance isotopes for U isotope measurements, U-Th dating and laser ablation Pb and Li isotope measurements.

Paleoclimatology and Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory

Major instrumentation includes: (1) Gas chromatograph-single quadrupole mass spectrometer (GC-IRMS) for quantification and identification of organic compounds, and (2) HPLC-signgle quadrupole mass spectrometer (HPLC-MS) equipped with intelligent fraction collection for identification, quantification and isolation of high molecular weight compounds.

Paleolimnology Laboratory

Quadrupole ICP Mass Spectrometer

The Quadrupole ICP-MS laboratory (with laser ablation) is used for elemental determinations in a wide range of liquid (e.g., natural waters, dissolved sediments/rocks, digested biomass) and solid (e.g., rocks, minerals, glasses) samples. The ICP-MS instrument is an Agilent 7500ce, capable of measuring trace element concentrations in solution over a nine-order linear dynamic range, from ppt to 100s of ppm. Sample introduction systems include a Micromist concentric nebulizer with a Peltier-cooled spray chamber for aspirating solutions, and a New-Wave UP193-FX 193 nm excimer laser ablation system for micro-sampling of solids. Sub-ppm detection limits are obtained routinely by laser ablation. The Agilent 7500ce is equipped with a collision/reaction cell, allowing for quantification of environmentally important matrix/plasma-sensitive elements such as As, Se, and Fe. The instrument is housed in a positive-pressure HEPA-filtered laboratory equipped with a weighing station, laminar flow bench, and Type 1 (18.2 M?) ultrapure water station.

Radioisotope Counting Lab

This laboratory contains gamma and alpha spectrometers for measuring radioistope activities in sediment and water samples.
Scanning Electron Microscope Lab (BEG)

Scanning Electron Microscope Lab (BEG)

The Bureau houses two SEMs devoted primarily to research on unconventional reservoirs under projects supported by industry consortia (FRAC, MSRL, RCRL) and by government-sponsored programs (STARR, GCCC). One is a conventional SEM devoted to wide-area mosaic mapping for the study of microscale fracture populations in tight formations. The other is a high-resolution instrument largely devoted to the study of gas shales.

Stable Isotope Lab for Critical Zone Gases

This lab is designed for the study of caves, soils and vegetative canopies. The GasBench II and Thermo Electron 253 in the High Temp. Stable Isotope lab are currently being used to measure the carbon isotope composition of soil and cave CO2, CO2 respired in soil respiration experiments, and dissolved inorganic carbon and calcium carbonates from multiple environments.
Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) Lab

Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) Lab

The TIMS Lab is a state-of-the-art facility capable of measuring Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, Re-Os, U-Th-Pb and U-series isotopes in a variety of materials, with the goal of resolving fundamental questions in the fields of geology, hydrology, archaeology and environmental science.

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.

Affiliated UT Programs & Centers

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.