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 & Research Scientists
Adjunct/Emeritus Facultyâ€‹ & Research Scientists
|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.
|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.
|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.
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 PLUSGraduate
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
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 apatiteGraduate
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 historiesGraduate
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
Lab AssistantGraduate or Undergraduate
Laboratory Assistants typically work in 3-5 hour blocks, helping researchers collect and process data on all techniques across the lab, as well as occasionally perform some of the few routine lab activities like carbon or gold coating, touch-up polishing, and billing.
Posted by: Phil Orlandini
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