Research: Geology and Geophysics
The surface of the Earth evolves constantly through changing feedback mechanisms between the hydrosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. During the Earth's evolution, movement of tectonic plates, creation of mountain ranges, creation of depositional basins, fluctuations in sea level, and changing climate facilitated the evolution of life and biodiversity. These forcing mechanisms also contributed to the deposition of geological material ultimately responsible for the origin of resources such as oil and gas, and storage of water in subsurface reservoirs. Today, an ongoing need for fossil energy as well as an increasing demand for surface and groundwater resources raise questions and concerns about the sustainability of our environment. These can only be addressed through better understanding of the evolution of landscapes and life during Earth's history.
Our Geology and Geophysics research focuses on topics that include:
- Evolution of marine life during periods of environmental crisis and changing seawater chemistry to define potential scenarios for the future of modern marine ecosystems.
- The exploration for conventional and unconventional natural resources using integrated geophysical and field techniques.
- The structural and tectonic evolution of Texas and its impact on natural systems.
- The use of geophysical methods to investigate and understand both natural and cultural resources, including groundwater, geologic hazards, snow and ice in the cryosphere, and evidence of past human habitation.