MAY 25, 2023 — The UTSA Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has received a software license valued at $2.7 million from Petroleum Experts, a Scottish firm that specializes in producing advance software tools that are instrumental to the fields of petroleum engineering and structural geology.
The software, named MOVE, will give students and geologists the ability to study the geometry of rock deposits by producing dynamic subsurface models that can be used to accurately detect underground fluids such as groundwater, oil and gas.
The software has many applications in the oil and gas industry. In past years and thanks to an initiative led by Alex Godet, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, UTSA faculty members and students from the department have leveraged the software to explore structural geological characteristics.
This 3D model of the subsurface of the UTSA Main Campus looking north (5x vertical exaggeration) was developed in MOVE.
It provides visualization and modeling techniques to determine rock stress directions associated with the development of faults. It also includes a complete structural modeling and analysis toolkit with features to help geologists better reduce risk in their structural models. UTSA’s license will last until December 2023 but can be renewed for an additional 12 months each subsequent year upon request and at the discretion of Petroleum Experts.
Matt Cannon, an assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, teaches UTSA undergraduate and graduate students who will benefit from using MOVE in their research and studies. Cannon is leading an upcoming geology field camp with 11 undergraduate geology students that begins today and will last for four to six weeks in New Mexico and Montana.
During the first half of the camp, students will collect field data to make geologic maps and cross-sections, which show how geologic features are layered on a vertical plane. In the second half, students will utilize MOVE to perform structural analyses of their cross-sections.
“MOVE from Petroleum Experts is the industry leader in structural analysis of tectonic deformation,” said Cannon. “Our geology field camp students will use it to restore the geologic cross-sections they generate from field data they collect in Montana to an undeformed state. This allows them to determine the viability of their mapping and cross-section construction.”
With this in-kind contribution from Petroleum Experts, the department will continue to advance student success and directly drive UTSA as a Tier One research university; providing high-caliber resources that can be used to advance research and discovery.
UTSA geology students are encouraged to develop innovative research projects for remote sensing and natural resources. These skills, paired with the experience students receive from using MOVE, make them more competitive job candidates in industries related to structural geology.
"We are delighted to receive this tremendous support from Petroleum Experts and thank them for their generous gift to our students,” said Saugata Datta, chair of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. “Their MOVE software offers our students experiential learning opportunities by helping them understand the viability of mapping in their field camp and structural geology courses. With MOVE, our graduate students have gained real-world experience and have been able to model the recharge rate of the Edwards Aquifer by mapping faults in the subsurface of the UTSA Main Campus.”
Datta adds that this software will continue to be leveraged by future generations of students in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
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