The University of Texas at Austin The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences


Fracture Research at The University of Texas at Austin

Fundamental and applied research on fractures, particularly as these studies apply to petroleum reservoirs, is conducted under the auspices of the Fracture Research and Application Consortium at The University of Texas at Austin. The academic program of research, mentoring and teaching is led by staff of the Bureau of Economic Geology, the Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering and the Department of Geological Sciences. Students in the Energy & Earth Resources Graduate Program also participate in FRAC sponsored research projects.

For further information on opportunities for fracture studies within the program see the FRAC pages on opportunities in Geology, Petroleum Engineering, Geophysics, and Energy Economics.

FRAC welcomes Visiting Scientists from industry and from other academic institutions. Contact Steve Laubach for more information about these opportunities.

A key part of the FRAC academic program is the Structural Diagenesis Initiative, a new teaching and mentoring perspective on interacting mechanical and chemical processes at high crustal levels in the Earth. For more information on the initiative see the Structural Diagenesis Initiative web site.

If you are a prospective student, please see the admissions information on the Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering or Jackson School of Geosciences web sites.

Structural Diagenesis Initiative (SDI)

Research and systematic student training in principles of both structure and diagenesis is the key to unlocking scientific knowledge about postdepositional processes in sedimentary basins. SDI promotes a merger of these disciplines and a new training paradigm in sedimentary geochemistry and structural geology.

The initial focus of the SDI is on processes that systematically create and destroy fracture porosity and that influence fracture size and spatial distribution. Fluid flow in fractured rock is an increasingly central issue in recovering water and hydrocarbon supplies and geothermal energy, in predicting flow of pollutants underground, in engineering structures, and in understanding large-scale crustal behaviour. Our cross-disciplinary research is providing fundamental advances in our understanding of how the diversity of natural structural patterns evolves.

From a practical standpoint this research is leading to better predictions of fracture pattern attributes in the subsurface where sparse sampling is the rule.

The Jackson School is supporting an already strong cross disciplinary and cross unit program in fundamental and applied fracture and rock-property evolution research, the Fracture Research and Application Consortium, that has been funded since 1998 by industry and the Department of Energy.


Program Support

Our research on structural diagenesis is supported by Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy and by the JSG Structural Diagenesis Initiative of the Geology Foundation, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences.

Research on all aspects of subsurface fractures is supported by Industrial Associates of the Fracture Research and Application Consortium and by Jackson Research Fellowships and private foundations.

If you would like to support the program, contact Steve Laubach.


Department of Geological Sciences
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Petroleum engineering
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Visiting scientists
Annual student events
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Field area images
Structural Diagenesis Initiative
Dissertation and Thesis Archive
JSG Energy Geoscience Education & Research Group
JSG Structural Diagenesis at GSA
Brittle Deformation and Diagenesis as Coupled Processes
Houston, October 5-9, 2008
GSA Laubach Research Award in Structural Diagenesis
Sedimentary Geology / Structural Geology & Tectonics Divisions
Structural Diagenesis theme issue
Journal of Structural Geology
Volume 32, Issue 12, Pages 1865-2092 (December 2010)
©2011 Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin