Structural Geology/Lithospheric Geodynamics

Structural Geology and Tectonics draws on all geoscience disciplines to address fundamental questions about plate tectonic and deformation processes. In recent years, there has been an explosion of new technologies which allow scientists to answer questions that were once beyond their reach. This research not only leads to advances in basic research, but is also relevant to society, through the exploration for natural resources and understanding of natural hazards.


Structural Geology and Tectonics research at the Jackson School spans the entire spectrum from continental to oceanic and upper crustal to mantle tectonics. Only a handful of programs in the country cover such a wide range. Researchers investigate processes at all scales using field and marine geophysical-based observations; laboratory-based petrologic, geochronological, structural and geochemical analyses; and theoretical and physical modeling.

Tectonically-focused research addresses processes at active and ancient plate boundaries. At convergent margins, research topics range from subduction zone processes to continental collision, mountain uplift, and basin evolution. Extensional tectonic processes under investigation range from continental extension in the deep to shallow crust to evolution of passive margins, spreading ridges, and oceanic crust. Other research concentrates on the evolution of transitional plate boundaries as well as transform boundaries.

Other major research areas focus on deformation processes including thin-skinned fold and thrust belt processes and associated fluid flow; formation of salients; salt tectonics; and strain partitioning in extensional and contractional shear zones. Another major research focus is on understanding fracturing, fracture processes, fractured reservoirs, and relationships to diagenesis and fluid flow.

Faculty

Elizabeth J Catlos

Elizabeth J Catlos

Can also see https://www.catlos.work/ My primary research focus is geochemistry, and how the fundamentals of chemistry (mineral reactions, radiogenic and stable isotopes, major and trace elements) can be and are used to understand what the Earth was like in the past. In this, I have ...
Ian W Dalziel

Ian W Dalziel

Tectonics, geodynamics, geography of ancient times, plate reconstructions, structural geology
Sean S Gulick

Sean S Gulick

– Marine and planetary geophysical imaging at nested resolutions and ground truth through drilling, coring, logging, and sampling.
– Tectonic processes, tectonic-climate interactions, and geohazards of convergent margins and transitional tectonic environments.
– Role of catastrophism in the geologic record including impact cratering, hurricanes, and tectonic events.
– Planetary habitability, impact ...
Mark A Helper

Mark A Helper

Dr. Helper is a field geologist, a generalist whose interests span igneous and metamorphic petrology, structural geology, tectonics, mineralogy and planetary field geology. His current research explores geochemical and isotopic similarities of Proterozoic and Archean crust in East Antarctica and the southwestern U.S., the Precambrian geology of Texas, and ...
Brian K Horton

Brian K Horton

Tectonics of sedimentary basins, evolution of orogenic systems, sediment provenance and routing systems, nonmarine depositional processes.
Luc L Lavier

Luc L Lavier

Tectonics; the structural and geodynamical evolution of continental and oceanic rifts, as well as collisional environments; numerical techniques to model tectonic processes on crustal and lithospheric scales; deformation; subduction
Danny  Stockli

Danny Stockli

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

Lecturers

Peter H Hennings

Peter H Hennings

Field and subsurface structural geology; seismic structural interpretation and analysis; characterization and hydraulic modeling of fractured and compartmentalized reservoirs; reservoir geomechanics; induced seismicity; fault seal analysis; thrust belt kinematics; hydrocarbon exploration and production; geology of Trans-Pecos Texas, Wyoming, and western Montana.
Stephen E Laubach

Stephen E Laubach

Structural diagenesis, structural geology, fracture analysis, fluid inclusion and cathodoluminescence studies, rock mechanics, mechanical and fracture stratigraphy, hydrocarbon exploration and development in deep and/or structurally complex areas, tight gas sandstone, coalbed methane, shale gas; geothermal, geologic aspects of hydraulic fracturing, application of borehole-imaging geophysical logs to stress and fracture ...

Affiliated Faculty

Claudio  Faccenna

Claudio Faccenna

Topics: subduction tectonic and morphological evolution of convergent margin, evolution of orogenic belt and exhumation of deep metamorphic rocks, dynamic topography, trench migration and back-arc deformation, mantle convection, volcanism and fluid circulation in the crust. Tools: Structural geology and geomorphology, experimental / numerical geodynamic modelling, paleomagnetism, seismic lines interpretation. Field sites: ...

Emeriti

Sharon  Mosher

Sharon Mosher

Structural petrology, field-oriented structural geology, the evolution of complexly deformed terranes, strain analysis, deformation mechanisms, the interaction between chemical and physical processes during deformation
Douglas  Smith

Douglas Smith

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

Research Scientists

Tim P Dooley

Tim P Dooley

Dynamics and kinematics of fault systems using scaled analog modeling, field studies, remote sensing, seismic data, and comparison with published examples; 3D geometries and kinematics of strike-slip fault systems using innovative analog modeling techniques; modeling of delta tectonics, salt tectonics, and segmented strike-slip and extensional fault systems

Oliver Duffy

Salt tectonics; Basin analysis; Fault networks; Normal Faulting; Salt-sediment interaction
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
Julia F Gale

Julia F Gale

Natural fracture / vein systems in sedimentary and metamorphic rocks; structural geology; tectonics
Mahdi  Heidari Moghadam

Mahdi Heidari Moghadam

Mahdi Heidari Moghadam is a Research Associate at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin (UT). He works for the AGL and GeoFluids consortia. Mahdi is a Civil/Geotechnical Engineer. He received his PhD on Tunneling in Difficult Ground Conditions from UT ...
Peter H Hennings

Peter H Hennings

Field and subsurface structural geology; seismic structural interpretation and analysis; characterization and hydraulic modeling of fractured and compartmentalized reservoirs; reservoir geomechanics; induced seismicity; fault seal analysis; thrust belt kinematics; hydrocarbon exploration and production; geology of Trans-Pecos Texas, Wyoming, and western Montana.
Michael R Hudec

Michael R Hudec

Salt tectonics, 3-D computer modeling, kinematic models for evolution and growth of salt structures, structural geology, cross-section restoration and balancing, seismic interpretation
Stephen E Laubach

Stephen E Laubach

Structural diagenesis, structural geology, fracture analysis, fluid inclusion and cathodoluminescence studies, rock mechanics, mechanical and fracture stratigraphy, hydrocarbon exploration and development in deep and/or structurally complex areas, tight gas sandstone, coalbed methane, shale gas; geothermal, geologic aspects of hydraulic fracturing, application of borehole-imaging geophysical logs to stress and fracture ...
Lawrence A Lawver

Lawrence A Lawver

Marine geophysics, plate tectonics, magnetics, gravity, heat flow, seismic studies, paleogeographic reconstructions of Gondwana, the Polar Regions, East Asia, and the Western Pacific
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
Estibalitz  Ukar

Estibalitz Ukar

Fracture analysis and structural diagenesis Brittle structural petrology Fractured carbonate rocks Tectonics and metamorphism of subduction zones
Harm J Van Avendonk

Harm J Van Avendonk

Van Avendonk is an active-source seismologist who specializes in the acquisition and inversion of seismic refraction data on land and at sea. Often these seismic refraction data are used for a tomographic inversion. The resultant seismic velocity models help us to interpret the composition of the Earth’s crust and ...

Laura Wallace

Crustal deformation, GPS/Geodesy, active plate boundary processes, subduction tectonics, geohazards
Duncan A Young

Duncan A Young

Polar remote sensing (especially areogeophysics), glaciology and geoscience. Member of the Europa Clipper project science group, a mission to Jupiters ocean world Europa. Lead for the Europa Clipper's radar instrument's (REASON) Science Data System and science requirements validation and verification. Ice-rock physical interactions in an ice ...

Research Staff

Gillian Apps

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

Sara Elliott

Romy D Hanna

Romy D Hanna

carbonaceous chondrites, planetary geology, remote sensing, VISNIR and TIR spectroscopy, X-ray computed tomography (CT), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), 3D image analysis and processing, scientific software development
Ian O Norton

Ian O Norton

Plate tectonics, structural evolution of continental margins, reconciliation of observations from structural geology with regional tectonics
Phil  Orlandini

Phil Orlandini

Ductile deformation; petrology; machine learning; SEM; EBSD; EPMA; EDS; field geology & structural geology

Francis Peel

Salt Tectonics Gulf of Mexico Seismic Interpretation Salt Deposition RIsk and probability in exploration Fold and Thrust Belts Deepwater systems
Robert M Reed

Robert M Reed

Microstructural analysis of rocks, particularly small-scale deformation structures and pores in mudrocks.
Christopher K Zahm

Christopher K Zahm

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

Graduate Students

William S Bailey

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 ...
Edward  Clennett

Edward Clennett

I am a second year PhD student researching plate tectonics and geodynamics. My interests are in how and why the earth's plates have moved through time, and in how surface plate motions link to the deep mantle. Advised by Prof. Thorsten Becker and Prof. Claudio Faccenna, I am using plate ...
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 ...
Rodrigo Correa

Rodrigo Correa

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.
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
Marco  Guirola

Marco Guirola

My main area of interest is seismic interpretation applied to the characterization and subsequent selection of suitable sites for carbon injection in the context of CCS technology. I study fault characteristics to evaluate and risk-assess CO2 permanence in prospects for geologic storage in the Gulf of Mexico. I am interested ...
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.
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: - ...
Patrick (Kevin) Meazell

Patrick (Kevin) Meazell

I am a deepwater sedimentologist and stratigrapher. My research focuses on the deposition of clastic, methane hydrate-bearing reservoirs in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. I study these deposits at the basin- to grain-scale. During my time at the Jackson School of Geosciences I have helped to plan and execute the ...

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 ...
Simone  Puel

Simone Puel

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 ...
Qiqi  Wang

Qiqi Wang

Working on fractured reservoir characterization, including tight gas sandstone and fractured basement. I am also working on tight gas sand diagenesis and reservoir quality evaluation. Method I use include SEM-CL, fluid inclusion micro thermometry and petrography. … Read more

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

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

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

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

Academic Seismic Portal at UTIG

Academic Seismic Portal at UTIG

The portal is the gateway to the Marine Seismic Data Center (MSDC). MSDC's goal is to support education and research with access to and preservation of academic active-source seismic data. Our partner, the Academic Seismic Portal at LDEO, has a complementary seismic inventory primarily of field data. These cooperating data centers, part of the Marine Geoscience Data System, are supported by the National Science Foundation.
Applied Geodynamics Lab

Applied Geodynamics Lab

An industry-funded consortium dedicated to producing innovative new concepts in salt tectonics. This research comprises a mix of physical and mathematical modeling and seismic-based mapping and structural-stratigraphic analysis of some of the world's most spectacular salt basins.
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)
Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope

Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope

Installed in the fall of 2001, this is a 30 kV tungsten gun high-resolution environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) with a 3.5 nm resolution in high vacuum, low vacuum, and environmental modes at 30 kV. The ESEM is equiped with a Peltier cooled stage, a heating stage, an EDS sytem (EDAX), a EBSD system (HKL – Oxford Instruments), and a cathodoluminescence detector (Gatan).
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 800°C, up to 700 MPa) used for the preparation of synthetic fluid inclusions and for quartz cement growth experiments.
Geometrics GEODE Seismograph Systems

Geometrics GEODE Seismograph Systems

The Department has 2 boxes (total 48 Channels) with 48 vertical phones and 16 3 component phones).
High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility

High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility

Provides high resolution non-destructive, density maps of solid samples (rocks, fossils, etc) up to a maximum size of 50 cm diameter by 150 cm high (50 kg mass). Equipment: An industrial CT scanner that is an adaptation of medical CAT scanners.

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.
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).
Ocean-Bottom Seismometer (OBS)

Ocean-Bottom Seismometer (OBS)

An Ocean-Bottom Seismometer (OBS) is a seismometer that can be deployed on the seafloor for weeks or months, recording either earthquakes or man-made seismic signals. To withstand pressures at large depth (up to 5500 m) in the oceans, all electronics of this instrument are kept inside a glass sphere which can withstand such pressures. The sensors of all instruments (discussed below) include a 3-component accelerometer and a hydrophone, all designed for seismic data with a dominant frequency near 10 Hz. The seismic data are recorded on flash memory. Correct timing of the seismic recording is provided by an accurate clock, which also resides inside the sphere. After a seismic study on the seafloor is complete, the instrument is brought back to the sea surface using an acoustic release mechanism. UTIG has long been involved in marine seismology. The development of a UTIG OBS instrument program began in 1978.
Paleomagnetic Lab

Paleomagnetic Lab

There are several aspects to our laboratory that make it different from others. One is our automatic handler system created at California Institute of Technology and adapted for our needs. Scientists and students can keep up with changes to our system by keeping in touch with the other 6 similar systems in the world and RAPID Consortium at http://rapid.gps.caltech.edu/. It also includes a cryogenic magnetometer and portable magnetic susceptibility meter (TerraPlus KT-10 Plus).
Portable High-Resolution Multichannel Seismic System (MCS)

Portable High-Resolution Multichannel Seismic System (MCS)

UTIG owns and maintains elements of a self-contained, portable, high resolution multichannel seismic (MCS) system that has been used over the past several years in salt- and fresh-water depths from ~4m to over 1km, on vessels from 10m to 35m in length. The 24-channel system is designed to be transported worldwide and to be installed on vessels of opportunity. Survey design, navigation, data acquisition, and near real-time MCS processing can be performed on non-dedicated laptops in the field. Deployment and recovery of gear is done by hand, requiring as few as 3 persons. The only constraints on the system are weight limits of the vessel and electrical requirements of the dedicated air compressors. For platforms with insufficient electrical capabilities, a fuel-powered generator or air compressor can be rented as a substitute.

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 UP¬193-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.
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.
Scanning Electron Microscope Lab (DGS)

Scanning Electron Microscope Lab (DGS)

Installed in 2008, this is a high-performance, 30 kV tungsten gun scanning electron microscope with a high resolution of 3.0 nm. The low vacuum mode allows for observation of specimens which cannot be viewed at high vacuum due to a non-conductive surface. This SEM has three detector systems - secondary electron (SE), backscattered electron (BSE), and X-ray EDS detectors.
Structure Lab

Structure Lab

The structural geology lab is where rocks are processed for structural geology and tectonics research. Storage space and all necessary equipment are available for preparing slabs, thin sections, and mineral separation for geochronology.
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.
Volcanology Lab

Volcanology Lab

This lab is equipped with a Spectrex PC-2200 Laser Particle Counter and several sets of 8" brass mesh sieves to analyze volcanic particles in sizes from centimeters down to 1 micrometer for determining size distributions of volcanic tephra deposits and their componentry.

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.

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.

High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility

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

Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation

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

PLATES

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

Structural Diagenesis Initiative

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

Texas Consortium for Computational Seismology

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

TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program

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

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.

Research Groups

Structural Diagenesis Initiative

Posted by Stephen E Laubach
Cover art for books Posted by Peter Eichhubl
Field trip to Valley of Fire (NV), San Rafael Swell (UT), and Moab (UT) in October 2014, sponsored by a grant by the GDL Foundation. Team: Peter Eichhubl (instructor), Jon Major (co-leader), Sara Elliott (co-leader), Andras Fall, Chris Landry, Zhiqiang Fan, Nike Tokan-Laval, Casey O'Brien, Erick Wright, Mint Doungkaew, Peter Laciano.