Richard A Ketcham

Richard A Ketcham
Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences

Work: +1 512 471 0260, +1 512 471 6942
Office: JGB 3.316EA
Mailcode: C1100

My research spans a wide range of geological problems, with a common thread being developing computational methods to address all stages of the scientific process, from data acquisition and processing to information mining to numerical modeling. I have two primary research areas. One is the application of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography to a diverse spectrum of disciplines, including paleontology, petrology, hydrogeology, structural geology, economic geology and planetary science. The other is theory and practice of apatite fission-track (AFT) thermochronology, and thermal history inversion from AFT, (U-Th)/He, and vitrinite data. I am putting together a state-of-the-art fission-track lab indended for both experimental and field-problem-oriented work.

Other current research interests include numerical depiction of diffusion-controlled crystal growth during prograde metamorphism on geological time scales, and characterizing the thermal structure of continents.

I am always looking for motivated students, especially quantitative and creative ones who are not afraid to do something totally new.

Areas of Expertise

High-resolution X-ray computed tomography, CT scanning, 3D image analysis, fission-track dating, thermochronology, thermal history inversion, structural geology, tectonics, digital morphology, trabecular bone

Research Locations

Martin Dodson Prize - International Standing Committee on Thermochronology (2020)

Fellow - Mineralogical Society of America (2017)

Joseph C. Walter, Jr. Excellence Award - Jackson School of Geosciences (2015)

Faculty Science Performance Award for an Associate Professor - Jackson School of Geosciences (2014)

Exceptional Reviewer - Review of Scientific Instruments (2013)

Exceptional Reviewer - GSA Bulletin (2012)

G. Moses and Carloyn G. Knebel Distinguished Teaching Award; Introductory-level teaching - Jackson School of Geosciences (2011)

GSA Fellow - Geological Society of America (2010)

Research Excellence Fellow - Jackson School of Geosciences (2007 - 2009)

Scientist Fellow - Jackson School of Geosciences (2006 - 2007)

Research Fellow - Jackson School of Geosciences (2005 - 2006)

Houston Geological Society Outstanding Student Award - University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geological Sciences (1995)

Best Ph.D. Technical Sessions Presentation - University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geological Sciences (1994)

Graduate Student Service Award - University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geological Sciences (1994)

Graduate Students

Scott A Eckley , Ph.D., expected 2022 (Co-supervisor)
I am interested in studying the petrogenesis of igneous rocks, especially basaltic meteorites from Mars (shergottites) using a multi-modal analytical approach, from macroscale 3D observations using X-ray computed tomography to high-resolution in-situ geochemical measurements using various microanalytical techniques. I also work full-time at NASA Johnson Space Center managing the X-ray CT lab within the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Sciences (ARES) division.

Megan E Flansburg , Ph.D., expected 2022 (Committee Member)
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 kinematics, direction, and metamorphic grade with the use of structurally-integrated (micro-...

Murat Tamer, Ph.D., 2019 (Supervisor)

Maragret Odlum, Ph.D., 2019 (Committee Member)
University of Texas at Austin

Adam Goldsmith, Ph.D., 2018 (Co-supervisor)

Emily Cooperdock, Ph.D., 2017 (Committee Member)

Jordan Hildebrandt, M.S., 2016 (Supervisor)

Undergraduate Students

Annabelle Cunningham
Rachel Ruthven
Emily Kay Pease

"Measurement and modeling of fission-track annealing in apatite: where we are, and where to go from here", 9th Chinese National conference on Nuclear Track in Solids and International Workshop on Fission Track Thermochronology, Datong, China (2007)

"Three-dimensional imaging, visualization and characterization of pore structure in natural and man-made materials using X-ray CT", 2nd International Workshop on Moisture Induced Damage of Asphalt Mixes, Texas A&M University (2007)

"Low temperature thermochronology and thermal history inversion: Two steps forward, 100 Ma back", Mineralogical Society of America Short Course on Thermochronology, Snowbird, Utah (2005)

"Measurement and interpretation of fabrics in 3D, from trabecular bone to crystals", George Washington University, George Washington Universit (2003)

"Inter-calibrating apatite fission-track and (U,Th)/He geothermometers: a progress report. Symposium 18-1 (Fission Tracks, Thermoluminescence, Eletron Spin Resonance and Cathodoluminescence)", Donelick, R.A. (Donelick Analytical, Inc.), Reiners, P.W. (Wa, 31st International Geological Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2000)

"The distribution of radiogenic heat production in continental crust, and the thermal structure of the southern Basin and Range", Rice University, Texas (2000)

"New insights concerning the calibration of apatite fission-track annealing", Rice University, Texas (1998)

2021Spring GEO 391 3d Analysis Of Volumetric Data
2020Fall GEO 388L Isotope Geology
2020Spring GEO 391 Advanced Thermochronology
2020Spring GEO 303 Introduction To Geology
2019Fall GEO 388L Isotope Geology
2019Spring GEO 391 3d Analysis Of Volumetric Data
2018Fall GEO 388L Isotope Geology
2018Fall GEO 376C Isotope Geology
2018Fall GEO 303 Introduction To Geology
2018Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2017Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2016Fall GEO 388L Isotope Geology
2016Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2016Fall GEO 376C Isotope Geology
2016Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Computational Methods
2016Spring GEO 391 Adv & Numrl Thermochronology
2015Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2015Fall GEO 388L Isotope Geology
2015Fall GEO 376C Isotope Geology
2015Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Computational Methods
2014Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Computational Methods
2014Fall GEO 388L Isotope Geology
2014Fall GEO 376C Isotope Geology
2014Summer GEO f660A Field Geo-Tx/Nm/Co/Wy/Mt/Id/Ut
2014Spring GEO 391 Adv & Numrl Thermochronology
2014Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Computational Methods