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


See Meetings for information on the 2006 FRAC Research Meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 12/27/05
New scientist joins FRAC We are pleased to announce that Dr. Peter Eichhubl has joined the UT Bureau of Economic Geology as a Research Scientist as part of our Jackson School Research Initiative on Structural Diagenesis. Peter will also be closely involved in our Basic Energy Sciences research project that is currently focused on testing linked fracture and diagenesis models in the Piceance Basin, Colorado. We look forward to introducing Peter to the membership in 2006. For more information see Member's What's New. 12/25/05  
Predicting Aperture and Length Population Statistics Using a Fracture Mechanics Model is the title of Jon Olson's invited presentation at the December American Geophysical Union meeting [abstract]. 12/07/05
México es un lugar propicio para el desarrollo de al ciencia See the UNAM site for more information on Randy Marrett's recent visit to UNAM and the short course and research program he presented. For more information on Randy's recent studies of fracture spatial scaling, see the Member's eJournal. 12/06/05  
Fractures and diagenesis of carbonate rocks, and mature field development are topics of the final structural diagenesis working group meeting of 2005. The meeting is scheduled for 3 pm Friday, December 9 with reception to follow. Members are welcome 12/05/05

Synkinematic bridges


Fracture models, fracture prediction, and pore pressure history were topics for discussion at the structural diagenesis working group meeting Friday November 18 from 12-2pm. See the Meeting announcement. Members welcome. Kitty Milliken also lectured at BEG at 8:30am the same day. Image: bridges in Arkansas. 11/15/05

Two Internal Discussion Workshops are tentatively scheduled for early 2006. We plan to hold the meetings in Austin.

These meetings focus on unresolved research issues. Members are welcome to attend.


Faulted limestone, Wyoming

Topics for these internal discussion meetings are:

Mechanical and chemical interactions in faulted and fractured carbonate rocks: Implications for flow conduit and barrier attributes and lifetimes John N. Hooker, coordinator. Workshop info

Fracture length and effective permeability evolution: From outcrop to simulator Edgar Pinzon, coordinator. Workshop info

Planning is underway for the 2006 FRAC Research Meetings. A review meeting is tentatively scheduled for late Summer/Fall 06 in Jackson, Wyoming. Contact Steve Laubach or see the Meeting page for more information. 11/10/05


The 7th annual FRAC student event was held Saturday, November 5. Contact the student organizing committee for more information or see the Meeting announcement. Members attended. 11/06/05

Jon Olson is the Michel T. Halbouty Visiting Chair at Texas A&M this Fall. He presented an invited lecture on October 20 in College Station. The title of the lecture is Occam's razor and the interpretation of joints and veins -- Can you really get more with less? 10/10/05  

At the BEG seminar on Friday, October 21, Kitty Milliken will present Petrography reality and chemical diagenesis. The seminar will be held in the main Bureau conference room at 8:30 a.m. Members welcome.[ Abstract ] 10/12/05 Note: presentation moved to Nov. 18.

Graduate student and Bureau Research Assistant, Kira Diaz Tushman, was the speaker for the Friday, October 7 seminar. Kira spoke on Expanding the tectonic history of the highlands: a strain study utilizing fractures from Cambrian Eriboll Group Sandstones. [ Abstract ] The seminar was held at 8:30 in the Main Conference Room. All presentations are posted on the Members site. 10/5/05


Schedules for Member visits to Austin during Fall 2005 are posted on the Calendar page of the Members site.

Contact Steve Laubach for more information.

Structural diagenetic studies of fractures on a wide range of scales are underway, Scotland and Mexico.

Structural Diagenesis Master Classes are scheduled for Fall 2005 in Austin. Topics include interaction of chemical and mechanical processes in the development of fracture systems and regional subthrust fracture systems. Members welcome. More information is posted under Meetings and on the class page on the members site. 8/23/05  Meetings are held on selected Fridays at 3 pm. Contact Steve Laubach.

2006 AAPG Fractures & Diagenesis


Stylolites and fractures, dolostone, Mexico.

Steve Laubach, Bureau of Economic Geology, Steve Cumella, Bill Barrett Corporation, Evergreen, CO, and M. Ray Thomasson, Thomasson Partner Associates, Inc, Denver, CO will be chairing oral and poster sessions on Fractured Clastics and Carbonates--What Constrains Their Reservoir Limits? at the 2006 AAPG Convention in Houston. Consider making a contribution to the session. More information on AAPG web site or by contacting one of us. 8/15/05 FRAC will also make a special announcement at the convention of an opportunity for member representatives. 8/15/05


Rob Lander is chairing sessions at AAPG meetings in Houston and Perth.

The deep frontier: Advances in reservoir quality prediction is the session scheduled for AAPG Houston on April 9-12, 2006.  The deadline for abstracts is October 4th.  Co-chairs are Joanna Ajdukiewicz, Rob Lander, and Ole Martinsen.  As of now both oral and a poster sessions are planned.

Going deeper and hotter: How accurately can we predict sandstone reservoir quality? is scheduled for the AAPG meeting in Perth on November 5-8, 2006.  The deadline for abstracts for this session has not yet been announced. Co-chairs are Rob Lander, Chris Cubitt, and Astrid Makowitz.  This will be an oral session but potentially could be expanded to include a poster session if there is sufficient interest.  Web link:

Jon Olson chairs an AAPG Houston session on Matrix/Fracture Flow Interaction

Jon's co-chairs are M. Ellen Meurer, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company and Chris Zahm, Integrated Geological Analysis, ConocoPhillips Upstream Technology.

FRAC graduate student Leonel Gomez chairs oral and poster sessions on Tectonics and Sedimentation of Fold and Thrust Belts at the Houston AAPG convention.

Leonel's co-chairs are Robert G. Hickman, Structural Solutions and Timothy P. Seeley, Talisman Energy, Calgary.

The 2005 FRAC Annual Research Meeting held at the Department of Geological Sciences was a success. Despite a hurricane the previous day, the FRAC Field trip in NE Mexico was also successful. Image to right shows part of the field party.  

For images from the 2005 field trip [Field trip review]

More information is posted under Meetings on the members site. 8/12/05 

  The FRAC field team is back from sampling and measuring what is possibly the World's largest microfractured sandstone bedding plane pavement. The team also collected outcrop laser imagery of macroscopic fractures in the kilometer-scale outcrop. Image on left shows Jackson School of Geosciences student Kira Diaz Tushman collecting a fracture scanline on part of the immense pavement. Fieldwork for this study was made possible by a John A. and Katherine G. Jackson Research Fellowship (Laubach) and field research grants from the Geological Society of America and the Geology Foundation (Diaz Tushman). 8/11/05
The 2006 FRAC meeting will return to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, based on deliberations at the recent FRAC meeting in Austin. FRAC also intends to hold a meeting and field trip in Argentina during 2006-07. More information on plans for both events will be posted on the FRAC Meetings page. 8/10/05  
Virginio Neumann

The Bureau welcomes Virginio Neumann as a new visiting scientist with the Fracture Research and Application Consortium. Virginio will work with Julia Gale until June 2006 on fracture systems in lacustrine carbonates in the Araripe Basin in NE Brazil and on Pennsylvanian fractured carbonates in New Mexico and West Texas. A member of the faculty at the University of Pernambuco in NE Brazil, Virginio obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Barcelona in 1999. His expertise is in carbonate sedimentology.

Contact Julia Gale for more information on these projects. 09/12/05

2005 FRAC Research & Application Meeting

The 2005 FRAC Annual Meeting was held July 21 and 22, 2005 in Austin. This was an Applications and Research Meeting focused on training and demonstrations as well as reporting on research progress. A post-meeting field trip in Mexico was held in conjunction with the event.

More information is on the Members Site. 2/11/05


Open fracture, Bolivia

The FRAC Annual Research Meeting and field trip are underway July 21 through 24. Rainy weather promises to cool off northeastern Mexico for the field trip. Latest news about the meeting and field trip and directions to the meeting location at the Department of Geological Sciences is posted under Meetings on the members site. 7/20/05   

New information on July field trip logistics has been posted on the Members site under Meetings. We will shortly be mailing Members additional information about the field trip. 5/24/05  Finalized meeting agenda and field trip logistics are posted.
Fractured Carbonates: Gale In Rio for SPE

Julia Gale traveled to Rio de Janeiro to present an invited paper on fractures and diagenesis in carbonate rocks to the Society of Petroleum Engineers Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference. Julia also hopes to meet with Petrobras while she is in the south.


In July FRAC will be joined by a postdoctoral fellow from Brazil,

Virgínio Henrique Neumann, who will be working on fractures in carbonate rocks. More information on Henrique's project will be provided in July.


A review of progress on the structural diagenesis modeling of dolostones initiatives will be held on July 12, when Dr. Rolf Arvidson from Rice visits. See Calendar.


Several students working in the Fracture Research & Application Consortium are featured in an article by Sylvia Jennette in the Bureau of Economic Geology Mid Year Report. A copy will be provided to Members at the FRAC meeting in July.

Grants for Analytical Fees Support


Edgar Pinzon

Edgar Pinzon, graduate research assistant in FRAC, has been awarded a competitive grant for his research to support analytical fees. The grant is from the Geology Foundation Conoco-Phillips and Chevron-Texaco Funds via the Jackson School Graduate Support Committee. Edgar's research involves new modeling approaches and fracture observations to better understand how fracture length and connectivity patterns arise. The study is based in part on field studies in Utah, Colombia, and NW Argentina. Kira Diaz Tushman of FRAC, has also been awarded funds from this competition. 5/25/05  

FRAC Ph.D. candidate Leonel Gomez won the best Ph.D. presentation award from the Jackson School for the 2004 fall semester. Upon hearing of his win, Leonel said As someone from a non-English-speaking country, I take great pride in winning this award. To the right, Leonel, and his advisor Randy Marrett, during recent field work in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. 5/9/05

Fractured Basement Rocks


Flow of water in fractured granite

At the July meeting we will provide a brief update on our fractured crystalline rocks fracture characterization and prediction work and plans.

Production from fractured igneous and metamorphic rocks is a reality, and FRAC methods can help unravel the role of fractures in these reservoirs.

For more information contact Steve Laubach or Rob Reed. For a high-resolution copy of the image (right) of copious water flow in a granite fracture contact Steve Laubach or Randy Marrett. 5/9/05

FRAC Student Research Opportunities

Support is available for student thesis projects in the Department of Geological Sciences and Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering. Projects cover a wide range of issues in fractured rock geology and engineering, and include modeling, laboratory and field-based studies.

For more information, contact Randy Marrett, Steve Laubach, or Jon Olson.

Left: recent fracture sampling expedition in the Rockies. Marrett, Gomez, and Laubach.

  On Friday May 13, Peter Eichhubl will present Structural Diagenesis—An Integrated Approach to Coupled Mechanical and Chemical Processes in Deforming Geomaterials at the Bureau Seminar, 8:30 am in the main Bureau conference room. Contact Steve Laubach for more information about Dr. Eichhubl's visit. 4/25/05

Barnett Shale and Fold-Related Faults

Student presentations on May 3. Petro Papazis will present A petrographic characterization of the Barnett Shale, Fort Worth basin, Texas and Tim Gibbons will present Spacing and distribution of deformation bands and their effects on porous sandstone, southeastern Utah at 4 p.m. at Department of Geological Sciences. See Calendar or contact Randy Marrett or Kitty Milliken for more information. Slides are posted on the Members side of the site under Reports.

UT student and Fracture Research and Application Consortium researcher Kira Diaz Tushman has been awarded a research grant to cover field expenses from the Geological Society of America. Kira has also been awarded field support from the Geology Foundation. Kira's proposal is titled The Evolution of Fracture Patterns in Northwestern Scotland: An Analogue to Sandstones at Depth. More information about this study can be found on the private side. 4/25/05  

The 2005 Southwest Section AAPG Convention was held April 1013 in Fredericksburg, Texas . UT student and Fracture Research and Application Consortium research assistant Meghan Ward presented Opening History and Porosity Evolution of Fractures in Sandstone beneath an Evaporite Detachment, Gulf of Mexico Basin. [ Abstract ] 4/20/05

Challenges in Carbonate Resource Development
An SPE Forum Series meeting on Future Challenges in Carbonate Resource Development is planned for 23-28 October, 2005, Los Cabos, Mexico. Steve Laubach serves on the Steering Committee for this meeting. More information about the meeting can be found on the Society of Petroleum Engineers web site. Here is the official meeting announcement [PDF] 4/14/05  

FRAC Research Staff Openings

Structural Diagenesis/Structural Geology Research Associate or Research Scientist, Ph.D. Structural Geology RSA II M.S.-level. Staff positions currently open within the Jackson School of Geosciences research initiative Fracture Opening Processes: Chemical/Mechanical Evolution of Fracture Systems. BEG also has an opening for a sedimentary geochemist. See the BEG web site for application information. [ Research Staff Openings ]

Rijken Successfully Defends Dissertation

Peggy Rijken at the 2004 FRAC field trip in Utah, along with (L to R) Alexis Anastas (Devon Canada), Rob Lander, and Jeff Chen ( Marathon). Peggy departs Austin shortly for her new job at ChevronTexaco. Congratulations Peggy!

On April 5, Peggy Rijken successfully defended her Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering dissertation Modeling Naturally Fractured Reservoirs: From Experimental Rock Mechanics to Flow Simulation. Jon Olson supervised the dissertation research. Committee included Sanjay Srinivasan, Larry Lake, Randy Marrett, Steve Laubach, and Jon Holder. Several aspects of the dissertation research will be presented at the July FRAC meeting. A complete copy of the dissertation and related slide sets are available on the Members site. 4/5/05

John Hooker  

John Hooker has joined the Bureau as a Research Scientist Associate II, and he will be working on the Jackson School of Geosciences Structural Diagenesis initiative. Fresh from a Graduate Research Assistantship for the Fracture Research and Application Consortium , John received his M.S. in geology from UT Austin in 2004 working on faults and his B.A. in 2000. Research interests

include faulting in carbonate rocks, modeling carbonate platform margin deformation, microfracture scaling in sedimentary rocks and using cathodoluminescence to study provenance and deformation history. A search is under way for a Research Scientist to join the Jackson School Structural Diagenesis initiative. Click here for a detailed job description. 4/11/05

Meallan type klippe

Type basement klippe, Meallan an Laoigh, on tilted foreland Cambrian strata in Kira Diaz Tushman's Masters thesis field area in NW Scotland.

At the recent GSA South Central Section Meeting in San Antonio, Rob Reed presented Occurrence of Mineral-Filled Microfractures in Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks as Determined by SEM-Based Cathodoluminescence Imaging [ Abstract ]; and Kira Diaz Tushman presented Fracture Arrays in a Subthrust Setting: Cambrian Eriboll Group Sandstones, NW Scotland. [ Abstract ]. Kira's field work is supported by the Jackson School. Rob and Kira study structural diagenesis (linked mechanical and chemical processes) with the Fracture Research and Application Consortium. 4/5/05
More information on these studies is available on the Members side of this site.  

Distinguished Visitor. Chris Scholz, professor of rock mechanics at Columbia University and Lecturer for the UT Department of Geological Sciences Oualline Lectureship in Geological Sciences, lectured in Austin March 711. Part of that time, he visited with members of the Fracture Research and Application Consortium (FRAC) on campus and at the Bureau. Because of the many parallels between FRAC's fracture modeling and quantification and Dr. Scholz' work, it was a stimulating visit. 3/15/05

Chris Scholz visits FRAC

(L to R) Steve Laubach, Randy Marrett, Chris Scholz, Leonel Gomez, Julia Gale, and Meghan Ward review FRAC research results.

AAPG Distinguished Lecture Tour 05-06
  Kitty Milliken, Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Geological Sciences, has been invited to give a AAPG Distinguished Lecture tour in 2005–2006. Kitty is co-principal investigator of the Jackson School of Geosciences research initiative Fracture Opening Processes: Chemical/Mechanical Evolution of Fracture Systems, in collaboration with Steve Laubach, Randy Marrett, Jon Olson, and Rob Lander. She is also a principal scientist of the Fracture Research and Application Consortium. 03/05/05
2005 Sub-Evaporite Detachment Fractures Field Seminar

A field seminar to view fracture systems beneath a regional evaporite detachment is in the planning stages. We intend to conduct the field seminar during February 2005. Image to left shows one of the outcrops we will visit. See What's New.

Members having an interest in participating in the seminar or in learning more about this research should contact Steve Laubach or Meghan Ward.1/01/05

2005 Fractured Dolostone Research Meeting

The goal of this January 28 meeting is a no-holds-barred discussion of new ideas in dolostone diagenesis and fracture development, including concepts of diagenetic modeling of dolomite cementation and a presentation on plans for our Jackson School of Geosciences Research Seed Grant. Contact Julia Gale for information and agenda. 01/19/05

See calendar notice for schedule.

Members Welcome — Meetings

Ellenburger Crack Seal

Internal review meeting

Thrust Belt Fractures  

Steve Laubach and Randy Marrett spent two weeks of December in northwest Argentina conducting field work in fractured rocks in a fold-thrust belt.

The trip was also an opportunity to prepare for the Fracture Research and Application Consortium's South American Meeting, which is currently in the planning stages for Fall 2006.

To the right, views along the prospective field trip route at an elevation of about 4800 m. 1/20/05

Fracture Modeling Software

In 2005 a new version of Jon Olson's Fracture Modeling software is being made available to members.

A training session on use of the software for various applications such as quantitative fracture permeability prediction is in the planning stage.

Contact Jon Olson for more information.

Selected Highlights 2004

DOE Outstanding Research Contribution Award
SPE Distinguished Lecture Tour — Laubach    
AAPG Distinguished Lecture Tour — Bonnell    
Major Jackson School Structural Diagenesis Initiative    
Hedberg Research Conference    
For more project news, see What's New on the Member's site.
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