The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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October 2011

On September 11, Katherine Romanak presented a talk in Abu Dhabi on groundwater protection at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Technical Workshop. The workshop made progress toward allowing CCS projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UNFCC. Attending the workshop were 91 delegates from 33 countries and an array of experts. Presentations helped to inform the UNFCCC Secretariat, who is preparing options in a negotiating text for Parties in Durban later this fall.




On September 20, the Bureau Contracts & Grants staff and the Office of Industry Engagement (OIE) gathered for a luncheon in celebration of the recent signing of three complex, wide-reaching research agreements funded through Statoil ASA and Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. Associate Directors Eric Potter and Michael Young spoke briefly about the role and activities of the Bureau in Energy and Environment, and Dr. Bridget Scanlon described her research in water quality and availability. Joseph El-Azzi spoke on his groundbreaking lidar-imaging techniques and internet-accessible platforms. Many thanks to all of the Bureau and OIE folks who have worked so hard to bring these sponsored projects to the researchers.



A new geologic map of Big Bend National Park will be unveiled this month at the upcoming GSA meeting in Minneapolis. The map is the culmination of more than 7 years work in a project sponsored jointly by the USGS and National Parks Service. Numerous agencies, including BEG, were involved in the effort that NPS lead geologist Bruce Heise described as “the single largest undertaking ever supported by the GRI.” Eddie Collins, Pat Dickerson, and the late Bill Muehlberger were key in providing support from the Jackson School of Geosciences. Said Heise, “The geology was complex and the terrain rugged. It is an outstanding new geologic product and the GRI team is very excited to have been involved with it. There are many, many people involved with the production of both the map and Eddie Collinsthe NPS GIS. The BEG effort was spearheaded by Eddie Collins who should receive tremendous credit for his involvement in his agency's efforts.”  Recent bureau publications, including the Geologic Map of the Glenn Spring Quadrangle, Big Bend National Park, Texas (MM0046), Geologic Map of Mariscal Mountain, Big Bend National Park, Texas (MM0048) and Geologic Maps of the Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary Strata, Big Bend National Park, Texas (MM0050) include information used in the project. To learn more, access the map project at the USGS and NPS sites.




Dr. Patrick MicklerDr. Patrick Mickler
recently joined the Bureau as a Research Associate-Hydrogeologist in the Environmental Division. Dr. Mickler’s focus will be on building new programs in hydrologic research, such as karst systems and water resource assessments, that will expand the Bureau’s strengths in recharge studies and water quality assessments. These areas of research are particularly important given the challenges presented by the current drought conditions in Texas. Patrick received his Ph.D. in Geology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2004, and his M.S. in Geology in 1998 from the University of Cincinnati. Previously, Dr. Mickler was a lecturer at California State University, Bakersfield, a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Jackson School of Geosciences. Welcome Patrick!


RCRL 2011On Sunday, October 9, 73 industry representatives from 23 companies attended the Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory (RCRL) core workshop, which was followed by 2 days of technical presentations on RCRL's latest research results. A dinner at the Zilker Clubhouse Monday evening was highlighted by a spectacular fall sunset and perfect weather. This year's field trip to Wyoming and Montana, which was attended by 40 geoscientists, reviewed RCRL research on Mississippian evaporite paleokarst, sedimentology, and associated fracture development. The field trip was led by Chris Zahm, Charles Kerans, Joseph El-Azzi, and Nabiel Eldam, as well as Mark Sonnenfeld (Whiting) and Dave Katz (Chevron). Participants visited several large canyons with spectacular exposure of the Mississippian, such as Big Horn, Wind River, and Fremont Canyons and Guernsey Reservoir.
RCRL 2011 field trip


Dr. Gang LuoDr. Gang Luo recently joined the Bureau as a Research Associate-Geomechanical Modeler in the Energy Division. His research will emphasize using numerical modeling to explain overpressure and stress conditions around salt structures—two critical issues for industry partners who drill wells adjacent to and below salt structures. Gang received his Ph.D. in Computational Geodynamics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009 and his M.S. in Geophysics in 2003 from Peking University. He has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bureau since August 2009, when his research focused successfully on prediction of stress states around salt structures, from finite-element models. We welcome him to the Bureau!



In September Steve Laubach completed the fall segment of his AAPG Distinguished Lecture tour. Venues ranged from ivy-covered walls of academic institutions in New England and Michigan to shady groves on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. The title of Steve's talk is "Structural Diagenesis, Resource Plays, the Highlands of Scotland, and Curriculum Development." The spring segment of the tour will be in April, with visits planned in the western U.S.


SwitchOn October 17 and 18, Austin audiences filled theatres on the UT campus and at the Alamo Drafthouse to catch advance screenings of Switch, a documentary film that delves into the economic and geopolitical implications of the world's search for practical alternative-energy sources. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Harry Lynch, the film follows Bureau Director Scott Tinker around the world as he takes a comprehensive look at global energy supply, demand, scale, and infrastructure. The focus is on energy resources that are likely to be most dominant in the coming century, and energy efficiency figures prominently in all demand sectors, especially transportation, heating, and power. The screenings were followed by enthusiastic question-and-answer sessions. The film is part of a larger educational initiative that will include K-12 outreach and resources to provide accurate information about the world's energy choices and that will help create a culture of energy education in schools.

 

 

 
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