Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering

      Department of Geological Sciences

 BEG   |    Students   |   Members  |   Reports  |    Project PDF

Join FRAC |
Slides [ppt]

Recent Events
Recent Publications
Meeting Information
Project Staff
Sponsors | JSG Initiative
FracCity Home
Events in
JSG Team Site
Sign in for Member Site
The Next FRAC meeting is scheduled for Santa Barbara, CA . Nov. 10-12. Information on the meeting and associated short course and field trip is posted on the FRAC Meetings page.

Why fractures stay open: The Movie. TGS analog fracture opening reconstruction.

FRAC Research Meeting

November 10-12 2008

Student Event

Fall, 2007

Member Notices: What's New

on the Member Site


Geological Sciences

Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering

Institute for Geophysics

Bureau of Economic Geology

Thesis support available for students in Geological Sciences and Petroleum Engineering. Contact us 
See Meetings for information on the 2008 FRAC Research Meeting in Santa Barbara.

Major revisions of the FRAC web site are underway. More information will be posted shortly. 01/10/07

Revisions to the structure of the site are taking longer than expected. Please bear with us... 06/10/07

Revisions to the structure of the site are underway. Please bear with us... 11/30/07


Shale fractures

See Members Site


See Members Site

Tight Gas Ss

See Members Site

From left to right (in color): Hargrove, Ellis, & Inigo on 2007 FRAC Valley of Fire field trip.

Student Fellowships

FRAC graduate students Magdalena Ellis, Peter Hargrove, and Juan Inigo are recipients of fellowships from the GDL Foundation for their research on the structural diagenesis of petroleum reservoirs and reservoir analogs. Other Fall 2007 fellowship recipients in this competition are from Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. Ellis and Hargrove study fractures in tight gas sandstone analogs in Scotland and in cores from the western United States. Inigo is working on fractured sandstones in Bolivia.01/29/08

Laubach Elected to Petroleum Group Committee of GSL

In late December Steve Laubach was elected to the Petroleum Group Committee of the Geological Society of London, which, among other things, sponsors GSL’s petroleum-related conferences and publications (some in collaboration with AAPG and SPE). Although Steve will be appearing in person for a committee meeting in February in London, he’ll be able to participate in most committee activities via conference call. Congratulations, Steve! 01/07/08

New Students in FRAC. A new cadre of students have joined the FRAC program in 2007, but we have many opportunities for additional students to join us. Structural geology, petrology, diagenesis, mechanics, geophysics, petroleum engineering, and economic analysis are just some of the topics of interest to the program. Contact us.


Steve Laubach (right) and co-author Meghan Ward, a FRAC student now at Chevron, were the recipients of an AAPG Award of Excellence “Top 10” Oral Presentation for their paper titled “Structural Complexity in Structurally Simple Fractured Reservoir Analogs.” Steve's presentation, which was recognized at the 2007 AAPG Convention in Long Beach,

described some of the results of Ward’s Master’s thesis research on tight gas sandstone analogs in NE Mexico and FRAC research in reservoirs in West Texas. Ward's thesis is available on the FRAC ftp site. 11/21/07


The Fracture Research & Application Consortium provided the images and the lead-off article for the September 2007 issue of The Leading Edge. In addition to the paper by Marrett, Laubach, and Olson, this special issue on fractures also features papers by Diana Sava of BEG (with Gary Mavko) and Mrinal Sen of UTIG. See the FRAC ftp site for news on seismic research initiatives in FRAC. 12/03/07  More info (pdf)

On November 8, Bureau and FRAC scientist Peter Eichhubl made a department seminar presentation at Texas A&M as part of the ConocoPhillips Colloquium Series. Peter’s talk was titled “Localization of Deformation in Sand and Sandstone,” and was presented at the invitation of Dr. Judith Chester and the Center for Tectonophysics, a group active in brittle deformation research that shares interests with the FRAC group. 11/15/07

The Bureau's guest speaker for the Friday, November 2, technical seminar will be John Hooker of BEG's Fracture Research & Application Consortium. John's topic: "Color SEM-CL as a quartz grain provenance indicator." The talk will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Main Conference Room. The slide presentation and report are on the FRAC members site. 10/31/07

Members of the FRAC consortium gather in Valley of Fire in Nevada. Photo by Eric Flodin.

The Fracture Research & Application Consortium held its annual research meeting and field trip October 15–17, 2007, in Las Vegas. The field trip in the Valley of Fire was led by Peter Eichhubl of the Bureau and Eric Flodin of Chevron. Slides and text are on the FRAC ftp site. 10/23/07

BEG's guest speaker for the Friday, September 21, seminar will be Jon Olson of FRAC and U.T. Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. Jon's topic: "What Every Geologist (or lesser mortal) Should Know about Fracture Mechanics." The talk will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Main Conference Room. This is the start of Jon's AAPG Distinguished Lecture tour.[abstract] 09/14/07

The Fracture Research & Application Consortium Student Event will be held on November 3rd. The Structural Diagenesis Master Class is also meeting this Fall and Spring. See the SDMC page for details. Members are welcome at both. See the Meetings page for details. 11/15/07

Postdoctoral fellow Stephen Becker joins the BEG as part of the Bureau’s structural diagenesis initiative. Stephen comes to us from Virginia Tech, where he received his Ph.D. working on fluid inclusions in porphyry copper deposits. Dr. Becker will apply fluid inclusion analysis to unraveling the fracture history of tight-gas sandstone reservoirs alongside Steve Laubach and Peter Eichhubl in FRAC. 08/24/07


Bureau Scientist Steve Laubach is serving on a Geological Society of America (GSA) panel that is drafting the GSA’s position statement on the government’s role in energy and mineral resources. Energy and mineral resources are at the center of many environmental and diplomatic issues, and the science of geology is critical for a thorough understanding of the resources to be found in the Earth and of how the environment will be impacted when those resources are used. Contact Steve if you want to discuss these issues (;
512-471-6303). 06/20/07

RamsayIn May, Steve Laubach and Julia Gale from the Bureau, along with Ian Dalziel from the Institute and Brian Horton of the Department, presented papers at the Geological Society of London Continental Tectonics and Mountain Building conference in Ullapool, Scotland. The conference celebrated the centenary of the 1907 British Geological Survey memoir, The Geological Structure of the North-West Highlands of Scotland, considered by many to be one of the most important publications in the history of structural geology. This milestone drew many influential figures, including John Ramsay (pictured here)—widely viewed as the father of modern structural geology. Ramsay chaired the session on fracture research. 06/20/07

FRAC Awards

FRAC and Bureau researchers were the recipients of awards from the Energy Minerals Division of AAPG at the 2007 Annual AAPG Convention recently held in Long Beach in April: Robert M. Reed received the EMD Best Poster Award for their presentation “Imaging Nanoscale Pores in the Mississippian Barnett Shale of the Northern Fort Worth Basin”. Julia Gale and co-author Robert M. Reed were the recipients of the EMD President’s Certificate for Excellence in Presentation for their poster presentation entitled, “Natural Fractures in the Barnett Shale: Why They Are Important”.


In May, Steve Laubach and Sergey Fomel received Jackson Research Excellence Fellowships. Steve also received an Outstanding Technical Editor Award for his 2007 service to SPE Formation Evaluation & Engineering. Jon Olson is a 2007 AAPG Distinguished Lecturer. Aysen Ozkan received a SPIRIT Scholar award and a major Research Fellowship from the GDL Foundation for her Ph.D. research in the Piceance Basin. Aysen also earned the William Dow Hamm Memorial Grant from AAPG..

Field Symposium  

From left to right, Julia Gale, Peter Hargrove, Magdalena Ellis, Linda Bonnell, Steve Laubach,
Rob Lander, Peter Eichhubl, Jon Olson, Wayne Narr, John Hooker, and Randy Marrett

In May scientists from the Bureau and FRAC participated in a field symposium designed to bring together scientists involved in fracture and diagenesis studies to discuss future directions in cross-disciplinary research and graduate education. The 4-day field meeting was held far from the nearest roads, amidst lochs, rivers, mountains, and bog in the western Highlands of Scotland. The photograph shows part of the group: from left to right, Julia Gale, BEG, Peter Hargrove and Magdalena Ellis, Ohio Wesleyan University (students soon to join the Unconventional Resources program at BEG), Linda Bonnell, Geocosm, Steve Laubach, BEG, Rob Lander, Geocosm, Peter Eichhubl, BEG, Jon Olson, Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering, and Wayne Narr, Chevron. John Hooker, BEG, and Randy Marrett, Geological Sciences, also participated, and Ann Laubach was in charge of logistics. The symposium was funded by a private foundation. Field guide is on the FRAC Members site. 06/06/07

Leonel Gomez is in the final stages of finishing his dissertation on spatial arrangement of fractures in the context of structural diagenesis. Leonel, along with his advisor Dr. Randall Marrett and collaborator Dr. Julia Gale of BEG, have made a significant breakthrough by devising a new method to characterize the spatial arrangement of fractures. A chapter of Leonel’s dissertation is one of a set of three papers that are in press in the Journal of

Structural Geology (see members site for copies). Some of the methods that Leonel developed to collect and process his data were published earlier this year (Gomez and Laubach, 2006, Journal of Structural Geology). Leonel will graduate this semester, then move to the research lab at Exxon. 11/01/06

Structural Diagenesis Research Program at the Jackson School has been awarded more than $750,000 of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) to continue its award-winning research for another 3 years. The program, which began with support from the Jackson School and a matching BES grant, won praise early on, earning a "Best University Research" award from DOE in 2004, as well as distinguished lecture tours and other honors. Steve Laubach, lead principal investigator on the project, collaborates with co-PI's Peter Eichhubl (BEG), Rob Lander and Linda Bonnell (BEG Research Fellows), Jon Olson (Petroleum Engineering), and Randy Marrett (Geological Sciences). Laubach sees great potential for the program: "The best science is yet to come in this area. There are many exciting research leads with important societal implications." The research strives to further understanding of how fracture and fault growth and chemical diagenetic processes interact to govern the attributes of structures in the Earth. To learn more about the program, click here. 11/01/06

Senior Research Scientist Stephen Laubach will present "New Approaches to Structural Complexity in Structurally Simple Fractured Reservoirs and Reservoir Analogs" to the Fort Smith Geological Society as the guest speaker at the FSGS meeting Tuesday, February 13th.  Dr. Laubach is a structural geologist in FRAC specializing in fracture analysis, and is the author of publications pertaining to fracture analysis. Slides are on the FRAC Members site. 02/09/07

National Meeting Organization Julia Gale is the chair for the oral technical sessions for the 2008 AAPG Annual Convention in San Antonio. Steve Laubach and Peter Eichhubl are chairing technical sessions pertaining to structural diagenesis. Peter is also the chair of a session at this year's AGU meeting in San Francisco. See the Meetings pages.

On December 10, Peter Eichhubl attended the 14th Hubbert Quorum, which was held at USGS in Menlo Park, California. Peter gave a talk on “Porosity Reduction by Compaction Localization in Sandstone.” The Hubbert Quorum, named for M. King Hubbert, is an interdisciplinary gathering of hydrogeologists, geophysicists, and structural geologists who meet to discuss interactions among these disciplines (details here). Slides are on the FRAC Members site.

Selected Highlights 2006

BES Grant — Structural Diagenesis Initiative
For more project news, see What's New on the Member's site.