The petrology and mineral physics group at the Jackson School explores mantle geochemistry; volcanic eruption dynamics; metamorphic textures and reactions; lithospheric dynamics; fluid migration in the crust and mantle; and formation of ore deposits. Graduate students at the Jackson School can explore a wide range of processes from theoretical, experimental, and applied perspectives, and greatly benefit from the diverse studies in the group and one of the best equipped research groups in the country.
Jaime Barnes’ research focuses on using stable isotopes as geochemical tracers of fluids in various tectonic settings, to decipher fluid-rock interactions and metasomatism at high temperature (including serpentinization processes), relationships between metamorphic processes and deformation, and volatile transport in subduction zones to aid in quantifying geochemical cycles.
Bill Carlson’s research focuses on developing a quantitative understanding of the rates and mechanisms of metamorphic processes, such as quantitatively analyzing primary metamorphic microstructures, linked to numerical simulations of their development, to understand fundamental processes of recrystallization. The greatest novelty in this work is the use of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (HR X-ray CT) to reveal the sizes, shapes and disposition of crystals within a rock.
Elizabeth Catlos’ research focuses on applying geochemical techniques to the study of lithosphere dynamics in order to understand the broader tectonic history of regions in Turkey, the Himalayas (India and Nepal), and south India (Tamil Nadu). Her interests include the geochemistry of igneous and metamorphic rocks, geochronology of a variety of minerals, applying mineral equilibria to estimate environmental conditions, and novel petrographic imaging techniques.
Jim Gardner’s research focuses on the physical and chemical aspects of volcanic eruptions and magmatic processes through field studies of active volcanic centers, as well as using experimental petrology to study pre-eruption contents of volatiles in magmas and the degassing of those volatiles during eruption.
John Lassiter’s and Jung-Fu “Afu” Lin’s research focuses on the geochemistry and mineral physics of deep-Earth materials to understand how melts are generated in the mantle, how subduction of crust and sediments has affected the long-term chemical and physical evolution of the Earth’s interior, and how properties of earth materials are affected by extreme pressures and temperatures. Geochemical research includes projects examining the nature and origin of mantle plumes and the global cycling of volatiles in the Earth. Research on mineral physics emphasizes an understanding of the interiors of the Earth and other planets through direct examination of the properties of materials under high pressure-temperature conditions.
Rich Ketcham’s research focuses on theory, calibration, and inversion approaches for extracting thermal history information from various isotopic systems, primarily fission-track and (U-Th)/He. He is setting up a cutting-edge fission-track laboratory. Rich also focuses on high-resolution X-ray computed tomography, including developing techniques in data acquisition, optimization, and processing to extract information for studies in petrology, economic geology, paleontology, hydrogeology, and meteoritics.
Rich Kyle’s research on hydrothermal systems integrates mineralization into a broad framework involving fluid and isotope geochemistry, petrology, tectonics, and geochronology. Long-term studies include pluton- and wallrock-hosted Cu-Au mineralization. Exciting new perspectives are coming from quantitative X-ray computed tomography study of three-dimensional distribution of gold in ores.
Faculty & Research Scientists
Adjunct/Emeritus Faculty‚Äč & Research Scientists
Graduate Student Position in Mineral Physics LabGraduate
The mineral physics lab at the Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for graduate student positions towards a Master's or Ph.D. degree in mineral physics. The Jackson School of Geosciences has exceptionally well-funded research programs and offers a number of scholarships to support graduate students for an extended period of time. Candidates with strong background and/or interest in physics (solid state physics), math, and geophysics/geochemistry are strongly encouraged to apply. Our mineral physics research programs focuses on high pressure-temperature experimental studies on materials properties using synchrotron X-ray and optical spectroscopies in a diamond anvil cell. Information about the graduate student programs at the Jackson School is available at: http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/. Please contact Dr. Jung-Fu Lin at email@example.com for further information.
Posted by: Jung-Fu Lin
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
General Opportunities in Field and Laboratory Based StudiesGraduate or Undergraduate
My position does not permit sole supervision of graduate student theses, but I co-supervise or serve on graduate student theses committees, particularly those involving aspects of GIS, GPS, structural geology, tectonics and petrology/mineralogy. I have supervised several undergraduate student honors thesis, both lab- and field-based, and look forward to continuing to do so.
Posted by: Mark Helper
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
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.
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.