Marine Geosciences

From tectonics at active plate margins to clastic sedimentation and carbonate systems in the marine environment, our research encompasses a wide range of marine geology and geophysics. Our researchers also study the interactions between oceanography and climate with tectonic and sedimentary systems and use a variety of techniques to past environments and paleoclimatology. Our rapid response program allows us to make timely field observations of transient geohazard events.

Research in the Marine Geosciences theme focuses on the following subthemes:

Marine Geosciences News

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Faculty

Jaime D Barnes

Jaime D Barnes

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

Thorsten Becker

mantle convection; plate tectonics; structural seismology; numerical modeling; earthquakes; fluid dynamics
Sean S Gulick

Sean S Gulick (Theme Lead)

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 ...
Patrick  Heimbach

Patrick Heimbach

Heimbach's research group (Computational Research in Ice and Ocean Systems -- (CRIOS)), in the Oden Institute is engaged in a number of projects, with main funding from NASA, NSF, and ONR. (1)
Charles  Kerans

Charles Kerans

Carbonate sequence stratigraphy, depositional systems, reservoir characterization, basin analysis, seismic interpretation, seismic stratigraphy, paleokarst analysis, carbonate diagenesis
John C Lassiter

John C Lassiter

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

Matthew A Malkowski

Terrence M Quinn

Terrence M Quinn

Paleoclimate, climate, climate change, climate dynamics, paleoclimatology, paleoceanography, sedimentary geology and geochemistry
Timothy B Rowe

Timothy B Rowe

Vertebrate paleontology, evolution and development of the vertebrate skeleton, phylogenetic systematics, the early history of mammals and their extinct relatives among Synapsida, the history of birds and their extinct relatives among Dinosauria, the history of other amniotes, high-resolution X-ray computed tomography, CT scanner, DigiMorph, informatics
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

Marcus Gary

Marcus Gary

Karst Hydrogeology
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
Judson W Partin

Judson W Partin

Paleoclimate, Stable and Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry, climate change

Affiliated Faculty

Kathy Ellins

Kathy Ellins

Geoscience education; Discipline Based Education Research (DBER); teacher professional development; geoscience curriculum development; undergraduate geoscience teacher preparation; climate literacy; geoscience, art and design engagement

Emeritus

William L Fisher

William L Fisher

Basin analysis, sequence stratigraphy, depositional systems, petroleum geology, resource assessment, energy policy
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
Paul L Stoffa

Paul L Stoffa

Multichannel seismic acquisition, signal processing, acoustic and elastic wave propagation, modeling and inversion of geophysical data

Postdocs

Bhargav  Boddupalli

Bhargav Boddupalli

Plate margins, seismic imaging, rock physics modeling, deep learning algorithms, ambient noise analysis.
Jamin S Greenbaum

Jamin S Greenbaum

Manasij  Santra

Manasij Santra

Natural gas hydrate systems, deepwater depositional processes and architecture of deepwater deposits, basin-margin clinoform shape and stacking pattern, stratigraphy of clastic shelf margins, stratigraphy of basins under influence of halokinetic movement, reservoir modeling, basin modeling.
Caroline  Seyler

Caroline Seyler

Zachary T Sickmann

Zachary T Sickmann

Basin Analysis, Convergent Margin Tectonics, Source-to-Sink Sediment Dispersal, Provenance Analysis, Sedimentology in the Anthropocene
Jingxuan  Wei

Jingxuan Wei

Marine geology and geophysics, active-source seismology, physical oceanography, coastal processes.

Research Scientists

James A Austin

James A Austin

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

Shuoshuo Han

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 ...
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
Xavier  Janson

Xavier Janson

Carbonates sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy, petrophysics of carbonate, seismic signature of carbonate rock, seismic modeling, carbonate modern depositional environment
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
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
Yuko M Okumura

Yuko M Okumura

Climate dynamics, climate variability and change, large-scale ocean-atmosphere interactions, atmospheric teleconnections, paleoclimate and thermohaline circulation, climate change
Judson W Partin

Judson W Partin

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

Stephen C Phillips

methane hydrates, sediment biogeochemistry, environmental magnetism, paleoceanography
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.
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 Earths crust and ...

Laura Wallace

Crustal deformation, GPS/Geodesy, active plate boundary processes, subduction tectonics, geohazards
Hongliu  Zeng

Hongliu Zeng

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

Research Staff

Marcus Gary

Marcus Gary

Karst Hydrogeology
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/]
Ian O Norton

Ian O Norton

Plate tectonics, structural evolution of continental margins, reconciliation of observations from structural geology with regional tectonics
Cornel  Olariu

Cornel Olariu

Clastic Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Depositional Environments, Basin Analysis
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

William S Bailey

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.

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 ...
Andrew Gase

Andrew Gase

I use seismic and electromagnetic geophysical methods to probe the earth at lithospheric and environmental scales. My recent interests include subduction zone structure, volcanic geomorphology, and magmatic-tectonic interactions.
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 ...

Nicholas J Montiel

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 ...
Neelarun Mukherjee

Neelarun Mukherjee

My primary research interest lies in modeling transport and flows in the subsurface. My goal is to address the growing drinking water crisis due to groundwater contamination around the world by developing robust models to explain complex transport phenomena in the subsurface, primarily in the vadose and the critical zones ...
Zach  Murphy

Zach Murphy

Before starting his PhD, Zach earned his MS in Petroleum Engineering from the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at UT-Austin. Prior to UT, he received his BA in Earth Science with honors from Dartmouth College. Zach is now pursuing a PhD in geological sciences in the Jackson School ...
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 ...
Solveig  Schilling

Solveig Schilling

Solveig uses micropaleontology, benthic foraminifera, foraminifera paleoecology and sedimentology to reconstruct paleoenvironments. Solveig is co-advised by Chris Lowery and John Goff. Her research focuses on the Holocene evolution of the Central Trinity River Estuary using benthic foraminifera. This project reconstructs Holocene environmental change on the Texas shelf using core data, ...
Kevin W Shionalyn

Kevin W Shionalyn

ice-ocean interactions, glaciology, geophysics
Patty  Standring

Patty Standring

Co-advised by Dr. Chris Lowery and Dr. Rowan Martindale for PhD. Current research is focused on deep ocean current changes in the southern Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the western Atlantic around the Eocene-Oligocene Transition (EOT) using stable isotopes from benthic foraminifera, and determining how these changes may ...
Travis N Stone

Travis N Stone

Travis Stone is a first year PhD student working in the Martindale lab. He received his B.S. in Geological Sciences in 2018 from California State University, Fullerton, where he studied Triassic reefs and their recovery following the End-Permian mass extinction in the Panthalassic Ocean. Travis is interested in ecosystem reconstruction ...
Steven J Wedel

Steven J Wedel

Clean Energy Finance, Clean Energy Technology, Sustainability, start-ups focused on saving the planet
On a general level, Marine Geosciences is a multi-disciplinary endeavor and students take a broad range of courses. This includes a Marine Geology & Geophysics Field Course to provide hands-on instruction for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students in collecting and processing Marine Geosciences data.
 

Marine Geology & Geophysics

GEO 381T Marine Tectonics
Tectonic processes within the dynamic Earth, with a focus on oceanic structures. Subjects may include fundamentals of plate tectonics; plate motion, driving forces, and mantle convection; evolution of triple junction and plate margins; plate reconstructions; earthquakes and focal mechanisms; structure and geochemistry of the Earth's interior; mantle structure and tomography; rheology and deformation mechanisms in mantle and crust; heat flow, gravity, the geoid, and paleomagnetism; hotspots and mantle plumes; seafloor spreading and oceanic spreading ridges; oceanic transform faults and fracture zones; and subduction zones, volcanic island arcs, and marginal seas. Only one of the following may be counted: Geological Sciences 338T, 371C (Topic: Tectonics I), 381T, 391 (Topic: Tectonics I). May not be substituted for any required geological sciences course.
GEO f391/f348K Marine Geology and Geophysics Field Course
Each Maymester we offer a field course designed to provide hands-on instruction for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students in the collection and processing of marine geological and geophysical (MG&G) data. The course covers high-resolution air gun and streamer seismic reflection, CHIRP seismic reflection, multibeam bathymetry, sidescan sonar, sediment coring, grab sampling and the sedimentology of resulting seabed samples (e.g., core description, grain size analysis, x-radiography, etc.) [More on instrumentation here]. Scientific and technical experts in each of the techniques first provide students classroom instruction. The class then travels to the Gulf Coast for a week of at-sea field work as well as on-shore lab work. Two small research vessels are used concurrently: one for multibeam bathymetry, sidescan sonar, and sediment sampling, and the other for high-resolution seismic reflection and CHIRP sub-bottom profiling. Students rotate daily between the two vessels and lab work. Upon returning to Austin, students, working in teams, are expected to integrate the techniques into a final project that examines the geologic history and/or sedimentary processes as typified by a small area of the Gulf Coast continental shelf. This class satisfies field experience requirements for some degree programs. Enrollment is limited to 12 students.
GEO 391 Marine Geology
Prerequisite: Graduate standing in geological sciences. Some topics require additional prerequisites; these are identified in the Course Schedule. Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.
GEO 391 Marine Geology and Geophysics Topics
 

Sedimentology & Stratigraphy

GEO 380G Construction and Interpretation of 3-D Stratigraphy
Uses three-dimensional volumes of basin-filling stratigraphy to explore how depositional landscapes are preserved in the sedimentary record and how sedimentary deposits can be analyzed to produce quantitative reconstructions of past environmental states. Four lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
GEO 380R Dynamics of Sedimentary Systems I
Explores the fundamental concepts of transport systems at the Earth's surface, focusing on principles and quantitative aspects of fluid flow, sediment transport, and bedforms, as well as atmospheric and oceanic circulation, complex systems, and the integration of small-scale processes in developing quantitative stratigraphic models. Four lecture hours a week for one semester. Geological Sciences 380E and 380R may not both be counted. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
GEO 383 Depositional Systems: Terrigenous Clastics
The processes, characteristics, and relationships among fluvial, deltaic, shore-zone, shelf, and slope depositional systems; depositional basin analysis used in stratigraphy and economic geology. Four lecture hours a week for one semester, with two weekend field trips. Normally offered in the fall semester only. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.
GEO 383N Depositional Systems: Carbonates/Evaporites
Analysis of carbonate and evaporite depositional systems from sedimentary structures, faunal and ichnofaunal associations, grain types, vertical and lateral facies successions within time-significant packages, and sediment body geometries. Three lecture hours and three laboratory hours a week for one semester. Offered irregularly. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.
GEO 380N Sequence Stratigraphy
Use of seismic reflection systems for quantitative stratigraphic characterization of the subsurface. Three lecture hours and two laboratory hours a week for one semester. Normally offered in the spring semester only. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, and Geological Sciences 416M and 465K or their equivalents.
GEO 383S Sedimentary Basin Analysis
Quantitative and applied study of basin subsidence and sediment accumulation. The first half of the course considers theoretical basin evolution due to flexural, thermal, dynamic, and fault-related subsidence. The second half of the course involves in-depth analysis of selected basin systems and includes student research projects and presentations on assigned topics. Specific topics vary from year to year. Normally offered in the spring semester only. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, and Geological Sciences 383 or the equivalent.
GEO 383T Tectonic Climate Interaction in Foreland Basins
Integration of recent advances in the understanding of modern and ancient foreland basin sedimentation, quantitative basin modeling, regional and global climate change, and the geometry and kinematics of fold-thrust belts. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.
 

Geophysics

GEO 383D Numerical Methods I
A survey of geophysical data analysis methods, with a focus on time series, including sampling and aliasing, convolution and correlation, statistics, linear digital filters, properties and applications of the discrete Fourier transform, and least squares. Instruction in MATLAB and Fortran and solution of data analysis problems using these two languages. Two lecture hours and two laboratory hours a week for one semester. Normally offered in the fall semester only. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
GEO 391 Earth Dynamics
The study of the evolution of the Earth lithosphere and its tectonics evolution sometimes requires a quantitative approach based on continuum mechanics. The aim of this class is to provide the basic tools to approach geological questions in a quantitative manner. The major outstanding questions concerning the formation of convergent and extensional plate margins as well as mantle convection will be addressed. This course is based on a discussion of the physical properties of earth materials and dynamic processes in the solid Earth. We will follow Geodynamics by Turcotte & Schubert, in covering topics in stress and strain, elasticity and flexure, heat transfer, gravity, fluid mechanics, rock rheology, and crustal faulting as mechanisms and consequences of plate tectonics. Other material on the rheological properties of Earth materials will be provided as the class proceeds. We will also perform numerical and analogue experiments of tectonic and geodynamics processes.
GEO 384C Geophysics I: Exploration Geophysics
Seismic, gravity, magnetic, electrical, and electromagnetic methods of exploration for petroleum and minerals. Three lecture hours and two laboratory hours a week for one semester. Normally offered in the fall semester only. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
GEO 384S Seismic Reflection Processing
Reduction of seismic and other geophysical data from field data to final geologic cross sections, using real data sets and commercial seismic processing software. Three lecture hours and two laboratory hours a week for one semester. Offered irregularly. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, and Geological Sciences 384R or the equivalent.
GEO 384G Subsurface Mapping on Petroleum Workstations
Introduction to basin analysis, subsurface mapping, and petroleum exploration using a workstation. Subjects may include common tectonic settings of petroleum basins, seismic stratigraphy, structural styles, and petroleum systems. Workstation techniques include well log editing, lithology interpretation, correlation of tectonic events, integration of seismic and subsurface well data, interpretation of two- and three-dimensional seismic reflection data and structure, and isopach and seismic attribute mapping. Geological Sciences 384G and 391 (Topic: Introduction to Petroleum Workstations) may not both be counted. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.
 

Structure and Tectonics

GEO 386G GIS & GPS Applications in Earth Sciences
Theory and practice of geographic information system (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies, and their applications to problems in earth sciences. Laboratories and field trips provide hands-on experience with the collection, mapping, and analysis of geologic and other field data using GPS equipment and GIS software. Topics include map projections; datums and reference frames; cartographic principles; remotely sensed data (satellite and aerial photos, image radar); vector- and raster-based image formats; geospatial data resources; GIS software applications; surveying principles; GPS constellation and data structure; differential GPS; data logging schemes; GPS postprocessing software; integration of GPS and GIS in mapmaking; extant GIS applications in geology and hydrogeology. Three lecture hours and two laboratory hours a week for one semester, and two weekend field trips. Offered in the fall semester only. Geological Sciences 386G and 391 (Topic: Geographic Information System and Global Positioning System Applications in Earth Sciences) may not both be counted. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in geological sciences and consent of instructor.
GEO 381K Tectonic Problems
Origin of regional structural features, complex and controversial structures; tectonic control of ore deposits. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in geological sciences and consent of instructor. Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.
GEO 391 Ins and Outs of Subduction Zones
GEO 380C Advanced Structural Geology
Origin of earth structures, solution of advanced structural problems, newest techniques, field techniques, and field problems. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.
GEO 391 Continental Tectonics
 

Hydrogeology

GEO 291 Hydrogeophysics
For each semester hour of credit earned, the equivalent of one class hour a week for one semester; additional hours may be required for some topics. Offered irregularly. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in geological sciences. Some topics require additional prerequisites; these are identified in the Course Schedule.
GEO 382D Crustal Geofluids
Designed to provide a technical foundation for exploring how fluids drive fundamental geologic processes in sedimentary basins. Includes characterizing pressure and stress in sedimentary basins, exploring the origin of overpressure through theory and characterization, and examining how pressure and stress couple. Problems include how sedimentation generates overpressure, how hydrocarbons are trapped in the subsurface, how mud volcanoes form, how submarine landslides are generated, and the origin of methane hydrates. Geological Sciences 382D and 391 (Topic: Crustal Fluids) may not both be counted. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
 

Climate

GEO 380T Paleoclimatology
Examines climate records encoded in sedimentary archives through geologic time. Normally offered in the fall semester only. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.
GEO 391 Late Pleistocene Variability

Research in Marine Geology and Geophysics

Graduate
There are opportunities for research within Marine Geology and Geophysics.
Posted by: Sean Gulick

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

PhD/MS 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

Quaternary Evolution of Mississippi Submarine Canyon

Undergraduate - Position duration is unknown
Michael Sweet (Institute for Geophysics) is looking for an undergraduate student researcher to use bathymetric and seismic data to understand the evolution of the Mississippi Submarine Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico. The researcher will learn to interpret seismic data and use ArcGIS software to integrate bathymetry and other geospatial data. The student will receive a $2500 scholarship from the Institute for Geophysics. Depending on progress, there may be opportunities for publication.
Posted by: Michael Sweet

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

Bars in Tidal Environments

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.).