Demian M Saffer

Demian M Saffer
Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences
Director & Scott Petty Jr. Endowed Chair, Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences

Scott Petty, Jr. Endowed Director's Chair for the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (Holder)

Office: ROC , JGB 5.312
Mailcode: R2200

During his 20-year career, Demian has published over 120 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Nature, Science, Geophysical Research Letters, Geology, and the Journal of Geophysical Research. He has secured funding from the National Science Foundation, ExxonMobil, Shell, the U.S. Science Support Program, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and a host of other funding agencies. He has been co-chief scientist on five large expeditions with the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) to study subduction zones and slow earthquakes through scientific drilling and borehole monitoring.

Before being hired to lead the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG), Demian was a professor and head of Department of Geosciences at Penn State University. At UT, Demian holds the Scott Petty Jr. Endowed Director's Chair for UTIG.

Read more

Areas of Expertise

Active tectonics, fault/sediment mechanics, geohydrology.

Graduate Students

Landon Lockhart , Ph.D., expected 2024 (Committee Member)
My expertise is in petrophysics and geomechanics, and I have proficiency in log-based petrophysical analysis, in laboratory measurements, and broadly in geomechanics, both in conventional and unconventional reservoirs. A key highlight of my research is the development of a model to predict pore pressure in the Permian Basin. In this work I have combined petrophysical analysis of log and...

Nicole Ferrie (Co-supervisor)
Nicole Ferrie is a Ph.D. student interested in utilizing geochemical behavior to research seismologic processes and paleoclimate reconstruction. Her research focuses on using boron adsorption and isotopic fractionation (1) as a fluid tracer in shallow subduction complexes and (2) as a proxy for paleoatmospheric CO2 reconstruction in paleosols. Nicole performs experimental work on both subducted rock from the Nankai Trough and...

2024Spring GEO 191 Geomechanics Seminar
2023Fall GEO 191 Geomechanics Seminar
2022Fall GEO 191 Geomechanics Seminar
2020Spring GEO 291 Geomechs/Fluid Flow Sub Zones

Graduate Positions

PhD opportunity in Subduction Zone Seafloor Geodesy and Megathrust Processes
We are currently seeking a PhD student to join the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Jackson School of Geosciences, at The University of Texas at Austin. This NSF-funded project focuses on the analysis of data from borehole observatories installed at the offshore Hikurangi subduction zone in New Zealand, to investigate slow slip event processes on the plate boundary. The student working on this project will have the opportunity to collaborate with a broad team of principal investigators, postdocs and students addressing the interplay between hydrological, geochemical, and deformation processes and their relationship to earthquake and slow slip occurrence at subduction zones. The student will also have opportunities to participate in seagoing research voyages, and be part of a vibrant subduction geophysics and geomechanics research program at UTIG that includes deep expertise in marine geophysics, seafloor geodesy, numerical modeling, laboratory experimentation, geomechanics, fault geology, and ocean drilling.

For information please contact Laura Wallace ( and Demian Saffer (demian.saffer@austin.utexas,edu).

All applications must be submitted by the appropriate deadline (December 1st 2022 for priority and fellowship consideration, and January 1st for all applications). See More information about the application process can be found at The University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences admissions portal:

For additional information concerning the application process, contact the Jackson School of Geosciences graduate Program Coordinator, Philip Guerrero: