Sedimentary Geology/Geomorphology

The Jackson School of Geosciences is home to one of the largest and most diverse sedimentology & stratigraphy faculties in the nation. When U.S. News & World Report last ranked sedimentology & stratigraphy graduate programs, UT Austin was No. 1. The program has a long tradition of excellence. It is the birthplace of depositional systems analysis, a fundamental approach for relating the spatial distribution of sedimentary rocks to their environments of deposition and a school of thought that has been widely influential in both academia and industry.


Major advances in the petrology and diagenesis of sedimentary rocks can also be tied to the program. Marine geology and geophysics has become an equally strong component through expertise across the Jackson School. The program was among the first to use multichannel seismic reflection techniques to understand the geologic history of continental margins around the world, and has pioneered the academic use of 3D seismic imaging for a variety of applications, from basin history and evolution to reservoir assessment. The program is currently focused in the areas of global change, geochemistry and diagenesis, sequence stratigraphy, seismic stratigraphy and geomorphology, surficial processes and sedimentary process modeling, and pore-scale to full field reservoir characterization.

The sedimentology/stratigraphy research community at JSG includes over 30 Ph.D. faculty, research scientists, and senior research scientists spread across the Department of Geological Sciences, Bureau of Economic Geology, and Institute for Geophysics. This group provides as wide a range of areas of research specialization as any similar program in the nation.

The Department of Geological Sciences group has core areas in seismic and sequence stratigraphic analysis of both clastic and carbonate systems, diagenesis and geochemistry of carbonates and clastics including extensive stable and radiogenic isotope labs, physical and numerical modeling of eolian, fluvial, and shallow to deep marine transport systems with an emphasis on the construction of sedimentary deposits, petrology, basin analysis, and the application of field, petrologic, chemical, and isotopic methods for studying chemical evolution of groundwater and ancient oceans.

The Institute for Geophysics is focused on large multidisciplinary research programs looking at 2D and 3D geophysical studies of stratigraphic evolution of marine and lacustrine basins worldwide. The sedimentology/stratigraphy group at the Institute makes use of a wide range of geophysical tools and datasets to attack problems of global geodynamics and climate change.

The Bureau of Economic Geology has research efforts in clastic and carbonate sequence stratigraphy, diagenesis and reservoir characterization, as well as seismic geomorphologic analysis of 3D seismic data, visualization of subsurface systems, mudrock depositional systems, basin-forming processes, and classic and digital outcrop analysis. They are working on basins and outcrop areas all over the world to answer questions concerning the fundamental processes that act to control rock properties in the subsurface.

Faculty

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 ...
Peter B Flemings

Peter B Flemings

Stratigraphy, basin analysis, basin-scale fluid flow, pore pressures in seafloor sediments, submarine landslides, oil and gas migration, methane hydrates, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP)
Timothy A Goudge

Timothy A Goudge

Remote sensing; surface processes; geomorphology; sedimentology; reflectance spectroscopy; martian surface geology; planetary science.
Brian K Horton

Brian K Horton

Tectonics of sedimentary basins, evolution of orogenic systems, sediment provenance and routing systems, nonmarine depositional processes.
Joel P Johnson

Joel P Johnson

Process geomorphology, feedbacks between channel morphology and hydrology and sediment transport, landscape sensitivity to climate and lithology, bedrock river erosion, flash floods, arroyo erosion, canyon formation, environmental monitoring and sensor networks, laboratory flume experimentation, numerical modeling, tsunami sediment transport and deposition.
Charles  Kerans

Charles Kerans

Carbonate sequence stratigraphy, depositional systems, reservoir characterization, basin analysis, seismic interpretation, seismic stratigraphy, paleokarst analysis, carbonate diagenesis
J. Richard Kyle

J. Richard Kyle

Ore deposits geology, mineral resources and society, geology and supply chains of critical materials, minerals exploration and evaluation, industrial mineral resources, origin of ore-forming fluids in sedimentary environments, fluid inclusions, stable isotopes, salt dome cap rock formation, surficial processes and earth resource formation, high resolution X-ray computed tomography applications to ...
Matthew A Malkowski

Matthew A Malkowski

Rowan C Martindale

Rowan C Martindale

Triassic and Jurassic reef paleoecology, mass extinctions (Triassic-Jurassic, 201 Ma), carbon cycle perturbation events in deep time, ocean acidification in deep time, Oceanic Anoxic Events, invertebrate paleontology (corals, sponges, algae, microbes), Mesozoic marine communities and ecosystems, exceptional fossil preservation (Lagerstätten), paleoecology, carbonate petrography, warm-water and cool-water carbonate (eco)systems, low-temperature ...
Scott W Tinker

Scott W Tinker

Global energy supply and demand, Technology Administration, Multidisciplinary reservoir characterization, Carbonate sedimentology, Sequence stratigraphy, 3-D reservoir modeling, Resource assessment.

Lecturers

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/]
Cornel  Olariu

Cornel Olariu

Clastic Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Depositional Environments, Basin Analysis
Jeffrey G Paine

Jeffrey G Paine

Near-surface geophysics in hydrogeology and environmental and Quaternary geology; coastal geology; Quaternary geology and geomorphology; computer applications in the geological sciences

Emeriti

William L Fisher

William L Fisher

Basin analysis, sequence stratigraphy, depositional systems, petroleum geology, resource assessment, energy policy
Gary A Kocurek

Gary A Kocurek

Sedimentology, geomorphology and stratigraphy of aeolian systems; fluid flow and grain transport; bedform dynamics and pattern evolution of dune fields; the stratigraphic record of aeolian and related systems on Earth and Mars.
John M Sharp

John M Sharp

Hyrdogeology; flow in fractured rocks; thermohaline free convection; fracture skin effects; regional flow in carbonate rocks; hydrology of arid and semi-arid zones; subsidence and coastal land loss; effects of urbanization; alluvial aquifers; hydrogeology of sedimentary basins;hydrological processes in ore deposit formation; and hydrogeophysics.

Research Scientists

James A Austin

James A Austin

Stratigraphic evolution of a wide range of marine and lacustrine environments around the world
Jacob A Covault

Jacob A Covault

sedimentology, stratigraphy, marine geology
Qilong  Fu

Qilong Fu

Sedimentology and stratigraphy, petrology of sedimentary rocks, reservoir characterization
Susan D Hovorka

Susan D Hovorka

Geologic carbon sequestration in deep sedimentary environments as part of carbon capture and storage. PI of the Gulf Coast Caron Center (www.gulfcoastcarbon.org) focused on research relevant to commercial development of geologic sequestration in regions where it is both needed and possible. Monitoring field projects. Petrography and sedimentology supporting ...
Xavier  Janson

Xavier Janson

Carbonates sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy, petrophysics of carbonate, seismic signature of carbonate rock, seismic modeling, carbonate modern depositional environment
Robert G Loucks

Robert G Loucks

Research in carbonate, sandstone, and mudrock stratigraphy, sedimentology, diagenesis, reservoir characterization, and pore network analysis.
Kitty L Milliken

Kitty L Milliken

Petrography and geochemistry of siliciclastic rocks; diagenesis; electron microbeam methods: X-ray mapping, cathodoluminescence imaging; micro-scale reservoir characterization
Stephen C Phillips

Stephen C Phillips

methane hydrates, sediment biogeochemistry, environmental magnetism, paleoceanography
Michael L Sweet

Michael L Sweet

Frederick W Taylor

Frederick W Taylor

Tectonic geomorphology, stratigraphy, and paleogeodesy/paleoseismology at convergent plate margins Paleoclimate, fossil corals as a proxy for past sea-surface temperatures. Corals as recorders of relative sea level for vertical tectonics and sea-level history.
Michael H Young

Michael H Young

Ecohydrology of arid and semiarid landscapes; groundwater recharge in both managed agriculture and natural (arid and semi-arid) systems; influence of soil structure and vegetation on water cycling; design and implementation of monitoring systems for above-ground and near-surface below ground environments.
Hongliu  Zeng

Hongliu Zeng

Seismic sedimentology; seismic geomorphology; seismic and sequence stratigraphy; Characterization of thin-bed reservoirs; seismic chrono-stratgraphy

Research Staff

Gillian Apps

Deepwater stratigraphy and sedimentology The interaction betwwen structural and depositional processes Engines of slope processes
Robin D Dommisse

Robin D Dommisse

3D geological interpretation and modeling - Integrated reservoir characterization - Petroleum Geology - Petroleum Engineering - Carbonate sequence stratigraphy - Conventional and unconventional reservoir exploration and development - Oil field exploration and production reservoir management - Petrophysics - Geostatistics - Reservoir simulation - Software development

Sara Elliott

Kelly  Hattori

Kelly Hattori

Carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, mixed carbonate-siliciclastic systems, salt-sediment interactions, reefs, ocean anoxic events and effect on carbonate deposition
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/]
Cornel  Olariu

Cornel Olariu

Clastic Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Depositional Environments, Basin Analysis

Francis Peel

Salt Tectonics Gulf of Mexico Seismic Interpretation Salt Deposition RIsk and probability in exploration Fold and Thrust Belts Deepwater systems
Ramon Trevino

Ramon Trevino

Sequence stratigraphic interpretations (well logs, 3-D seismic), integrated reservoir characterization, subsurface correlation and mapping (using workstation and PC) and subsurface structural interpretation (using 3-D seismic), project management, CO2 sequestration
Christopher K Zahm

Christopher K Zahm

Reservoir characterization, flow modeling in fractured reservoirs, porosity-permeability evolution

Graduate Students

Jana Alabdullatif

Rawan Alasad

Rawan Alasad

I study the sedimentary record, surficial processes, tectonic relief and catchment evolution that occurs during rifting.

William S Bailey

Emily Bamber

I am a PhD student in the Planetary Surface Processes lab My current research addresses the past evolution of impact crater lakes on Mars, Earth, and elsewhere with fieldwork, satellite observations and landscape modelling.
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 ...
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 ...
Amanda Z Calle

Amanda Z Calle

My research is focused on the Cenozoic sedimentary, structural and exhumational history of the Eastern Cordillera to modern Chaco foreland basin in southern Bolivia. A multidisciplinary approach of source-to-sink, geochronology, low-temperature thermochronology and structural mapping will be used. Inherited pre-Andean structures and their response to contractional settings will also be ...
Ethan M Conrad

Ethan M Conrad

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 in response to tectonic and climatic forces. The field component of my research is focused on the Cenozoic evolution of the Northern Caribbean Plate Boundary. ...
Dallas B Dunlap

Dallas B Dunlap

Quantitative Clastics Laboratory, Geologic Subsurface Mapping, Deepwater Depositional Processes
Abdulah  Eljalafi

Abdulah Eljalafi

Abdulah s research focuses on understanding depositional and stratigraphic processes of carbonate platforms. His research focuses on deciphering the architectural relationships of mid Cretaceous carbonate platforms in mexico from a depositional standpoint based on field mapping. Other Interests include microbialite morphology, field stratigraphy, and invertebrate paleontology.

Zachary Foster-Baril

Kyle W Fouke

Yuqian(Philomena) Gan

I have broad interests in sedimentology and stratigraphy with focus on: Slope channel architecture and evolution Sediment density flow processes and deposits Sequence stratigraphy of medium depth (200-500m) back-arc and foreland systems
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
Nicole  Gonzalez

Nicole Gonzalez

Hello! I study reservoir-scale shallow marine stratigraphy under the mentorship of Dr. David Mohrig. I'm interested in understanding how sediment gravity flows help construct delta front and prodelta-shelf environments. Particularly, my master's work involves developing a depositional model for marine storm beds within the Coaledo Formation in southwestern Oregon to ...
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.
Scarlette  Hsia

Scarlette Hsia

My PhD Research is focused on constraining the timing and amplitude of Marine Isotope Stage 5a deposits across the Western Atlantic Ocean. I am an English as a Second Language (ESL) and First Gen PhD student and from San Antonio, Texas. My primary interests include carbonate facies mapping, sedimentology, paleo-sea ...
Sarp  Karakaya

Sarp Karakaya

Professional Summary: Ph.D. candidate at Jackson School of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin with seven years of oil industry experience in Turkish Petroleum Corporation, and an M.Sc. in Geology from Rutgers University. Evaluated multiple deep-sea depositional systems with significant commercial potential. Has extensive experience ...
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 ...
Landon  Lockhart

Landon Lockhart

Landon's research is focused on characterizing the pressures and stresses in complex geologic settings. Specifically, his research integrates geomechanical modeling, experimental analysis, and field data at the Mad Dog Field, deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The title of Landon's thesis is "New Pore Pressure Prediction Workflow to Capture the Effects of ...
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: - ...
Paul Morris

Paul Morris

Advised by Professor David Mohrig, Dr Jake Covault and Dr Zoltan Sylvester. Working with the Quantitative Clastics Lab. Using forward stratigraphic models coded in python to understand and quantify the evolution of (deep-water) channel-belt stratigraphy. Linking the movement and morphology of channels to their resultant deposits - exploring resulting issues ...
Mariel D Nelson

Mariel D Nelson

Hi! I'm a geomorphologist and second year PhD student in the Department of Geological Sciences. I'm co-advised by David Mohrig (sedimentology) and Tim Goudge (remote sensing). I study the shape of landscapes and seek process-based descriptions of how they change over time. For my graduate research, I conduct repeat lidar ...
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 ...
Sean  O'Donnell

Sean O'Donnell

My research interests are in the areas of volcanology and igneous petrology. I am currently researching aspects of the caldera forming eruption of Crater Lake, OR. I am using field and laboratory methods to understand volcanologic and petrologic processes that occurred during different stages of the eruption, and determining how ...
Fritz Palacios

Fritz Palacios

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.
Fernando  Rey

Fernando Rey

My research focus is to link the stratigraphic record with tectonic processes using geochronology and geochemical signatures. I am currently working on projects in southern Patagonia (Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Rocas Verdes Back-arc basin) and Japan (Neogene opening of the Sea of Japan).I am also interested in the dispersal of ...
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 ...
Cole M Speed

Cole M Speed

I am a Ph.D. student with interests in remote sensing, geospatial data analytics, and planetary surface processes. My current research focuses on quantifying the evolution of modern fluvial landscapes and their preservation in the ancient rock record using high-resolution topography, time-lapse satellite imagery, numerical models, and field data. Ultimately, ...
Michelle Tebolt

Michelle Tebolt

As a planetary scientist, I study sedimentary processes on Mars to better understand the paleoenvironment, or the conditions that once existed on the surface. I am particularly interested in Martian fluvial processes that occurred ~3.8 billion years ago when there was liquid water on the surface and consider the question: How ...
Victoria L Todd

Victoria L Todd

Abby  Varona

Abby Varona

Abby is interested in the stratigraphy and sedimentology of basin-scale systems. She is currently working on understanding the depositional history of submarine channel systems containing methane hydrate bearing reservoirs within deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
Kat Wilson

Kat Wilson

coastal geomorphology
Charlie (Yu-Chen)  Zheng

Charlie (Yu-Chen) Zheng

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

MSc or PhD Student

Graduate
Our team is almost always interested in recruiting new graduate students who are interested in paleoecology, marine communities, carbonate sedimentology, and/or geobiology.
Posted by: Rowan Martindale

High Resolution 3D marine seismic for fluid studies

Graduate
Opportunities exist to become involved in the design, acquisition, processing, and interpretation of high-resolution 3D marine seismic data. Current applications include characterization for subsurface storage of carbon dioxide and natural fluid migration studies. We anticipate development into imaging modern systems as reservoir analogs.
Posted by: Tip Meckel

Postdoctoral Fellow

Graduate
Purpose of position: To conduct research in numerical simulation of fluid flow using both traditional Darcy flow simulators as well as Invasion Percolation methods, sandbox flow modeling, and development of a strong publication record on the topic. Essential functions: Develop numerical simulations of fluid flow CO2 in mm to m scale models informed by geologic depositional heterogeneity. Assist in designing and implementing laboratory validation experiments of sandbox flow modeling to support theoretical and numerical simulations. Publish results in peer reviewed outlets, assist in project reporting and make presentations, as needed to support project. Required qualifications: PhD in hydrogeology, environmental engineering, or closely related geoscience field earned within the last three years. Relevant laboratory experience with sandbox scale flow experiments. Demonstrated research interest in forward and inverse modeling of subsurface flow and transport pertaining multi-phase flow. Preferred qualifications Demonstrated strong oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated ability to conduct experimental studies. Demonstrated experience in presenting and publishing results, including CO2 or CCS.
Posted by: Tip Meckel

Undergraduate Research: Inclusive Geoscience Education and Research Environmental Reconstruction in Holocene Estuaries on the Modern Texas Continental Shelf

Graduate - 1 year
Sea level rise is one of the most pressing impacts of climate change facing coastal communities. A variety of mitigation efforts on the local and regional level (beach nourishment, marsh restoration, coastal barriers, etc.) can provide some measure of protection for coastal communities. These large engineering projects require huge quantities of sand to complete, and sand is not as common on the seafloor as you might expect. On northern Texas shelf, offshore Galveston Bay, a few sand banks exist, but much more material is buried in drowned river valleys, which were carved by rivers when sea level was ~120 meters lower and dry land extended all the way to the edge of the continental shelf. These rivers deposited sand in point bars, which were then buried in estuarine mud as sea level rose and the river valley became a bay. Sand was also deposited in this estuary as bay head deltas, flood tide deltas, and over wash fans. UT is currently involved in an extensive project to find and map (using seismic surveying and sediment cores) the extent of Holocene sand deposits in the Trinity and Sabine river valleys offshore modern Galveston Bay. For this project, the REU student will conduct grain size analysis on sediment cores collected offshore Galveston Bay to determine the overall sedimentology and stratigraphy of these environments. This student will also use marine microfossils (benthic foraminifera) to determine the depositional environment of the muds deposited in between the sand deposits to determine the overall environmental evolution of the Holocene estuary system. This work will help identify sand resources for future coastal protection projects in the Galveston area. This work will also help reconstruct the history of the Holocene estuary and barrier island system; understanding how ancient barrier island systems responded to different rates of sea level rise during the Holocene can help constrain how barrier islands will respond to similar rates of sea level rise today. This project will involve work on a Malvern Mastersizer laser grain size analyzer, managing grain size datasets, and microfossil picking on a microscope. Prior experience with any of these things is not required. Apply through the Champions of Diversity website: https://jsg-gen.squarespace.com/mentee-application
Posted by: Christopher Lowery

Environmental Reconstruction in Holocene Estuaries on the Modern Texas Continental Shelf

Undergraduate - 1 year
Sea level rise is one of the most pressing impacts of climate change facing coastal communities. A variety of mitigation efforts on the local and regional level (beach nourishment, marsh restoration, coastal barriers, etc.) can provide some measure of protection for coastal communities. These large engineering projects require huge quantities of sand to complete, and sand is not as common on the seafloor as you might expect. On northern Texas shelf, offshore Galveston Bay, a few sand banks exist, but much more material is buried in drowned river valleys, which were carved by rivers when sea level was ~120 meters lower and dry land extended all the way to the edge of the continental shelf. These rivers deposited sand in point bars, which were then buried in estuarine mud as sea level rose and the river valley became a bay. Sand was also deposited in this estuary as bay head deltas, flood tide deltas, and over wash fans. UT is currently involved in an extensive project to find and map (using seismic surveying and sediment cores) the extent of Holocene sand deposits in the Trinity and Sabine river valleys offshore modern Galveston Bay. For this project, the REU student will conduct grain size analysis on sediment cores collected offshore Galveston Bay to determine the overall sedimentology and stratigraphy of these environments. This student will also use marine microfossils (benthic foraminifera) to determine the depositional environment of the muds deposited in between the sand deposits to determine the overall environmental evolution of the Holocene estuary system. This work will help identify sand resources for future coastal protection projects in the Galveston area. This work will also help reconstruct the history of the Holocene estuary and barrier island system; understanding how ancient barrier island systems responded to different rates of sea level rise during the Holocene can help constrain how barrier islands will respond to similar rates of sea level rise today. This project will involve work on a Malvern Mastersizer laser grain size analyzer, managing grain size datasets, and microfossil picking on a microscope. Prior experience with any of these things is not required. Apply through the Champions of Diversity website: https://jsg-gen.squarespace.com/mentee-application
Posted by: Christopher Lowery

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Undergraduate - ongoing
The position entails working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) as part of a research team in support of an oil and gas industry funded project which focuses on the depositional history of the Gulf of Mexico. URAs work with geophysical data, geographic information systems, geosoftware and scientific literature to accomplish GBDS research goals. This position is ongoing: 20 hours per week during Fall and Spring semesters. Up to 40 hours during summer.
Posted by: Jonathan Virdell

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.

Bars in Tidal Environments

EDGER Forum (Exploration & Development Geophysics Education & Research)

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

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.).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Morphodynamics and Quantitative Stratigraphy

Posted by Peter P Flaig
Photo set includes images of fieldwork done on the North Slope of Alaska from 2005-2013 Posted by Peter P Flaig
Photos of fieldwork in the Central Transantarctic Mountains during the 2003-2004 and 2010-2011 field seasons. Posted by Peter P Flaig
Photos of fieldwork on clastic wedges of the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming