The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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Mission
Bureau researchers apply modern geophysical, geologic, and remote-sensing methods to address problems in the surface and near-surface environment. Surface, airborne, and borehole tools scale from regional to local studies involving issues such as coastal geology, surface water and groundwater salinization, neotectonics and surface faulting, subsidence, transportation infrastructure, Quaternary geology, sinkhole characterization and assessment, and many other related topics.

Research areas
• Near-surface geophysics applied to geologic, hydrologic, and engineering issues
Airborne Lidar and Hyperspectral Imaging
Coastal geology
• Geologic mapping (regional and detailed)
• Geohazards assessment and monitoring (sinkholes, surface faulting, and subsidence)
• Soil and water salinization
• Groundwater resource assessments

Key Insights
Rather than apply a single favorite approach or all available approaches to a near-surface geological, hydrologic, or engineering issue, we seek to fully understand the issue before selecting a tool or method, identify relevant physical properties that can serve as a reliable proxy for the problem or issue, select the appropriate instruments and platforms (airborne, surface, or borehole), and then design a measurement campaign to address the lateral and vertical scale of
the problem. The final step is to analyze and interpret the proxy measurements in a manner that gives insight into the geologic, hydrologic, or engineering issue.

Research Assets and Expertise
  • Frequency-domain electromagnetic induction system: Geonics EM34-3. A surface instrument that measures apparent ground conductivity at selectable depths as great as 50m. Produces conductivity profiles along the ground surface and depth sections depicting lateral and vertical variation in ground conductivity that are useful for characterizing surficial deposits and bedrock lithology, water-saturation trends, and pore-fluid salinity.


  • Time-domain electromagnetic induction system: terraTEM three-channel acquisition, three-component receiver, continuous recording). Produces generalized models of ground conductivity from depths of a few to a few hundred meters. Can explore deeper than the EM34 and serves as a nonintrusive borehole proxy.


  • Geoprobe: mobile, track-mounted push probe for shallow logging and sampling.
gravimeter

  • Slim-hole borehole geophysical logging system: 1024-channel spectral natural gamma and electrical conductivity probes, 400-m cable, motorized winch, WellCAD analysis software. Produces high-resolution gamma and conductivity logs in slim-hole borings and water wells. Useful for determining site-specific lithology, water saturation, and groundwater salinity.

  • Shallow seismic reflection and refraction: 24- and 48-channel seismographs, 40-Hz geophones, Seismic Processing Workshop software. Shallow (a few to a few hundred meters) exploration of geologic features.

  • Ground-penetrating radar: GSSI SIR-2000 and 3000 systems with multiple antennas. Ultra-shallow (surface to a few meters) investigations of geologic and engineering features.

  • Airborne geophysics: high-resolution electromagnetic induction and magnetometer surveys from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Produces high-resolution maps, cross sections, and volumes that allow sophisticated interpretation of near-surface lithology, structure, and water content and salinity.

  • Airborne lidar, digital photogrammetry, and radar interferometry: airborne- and satellite-based surveys to determine elevation and elevation change over time. Useful for subsidence studies.

NSO Staff
  Jeff Paine Jeffrey G. Paine
Near-surface ground, borehole, and airborne geophysics
  Edward Collins Edward W. Collins
Surface mapping, stratigraphy, structural geology
  Tip Kutalmis Saylam
Airborne topographic and bathymetric lidar
  Changbing Yang Changbing Yang
Geologic and hydrologic modeling
  Robert Reedy Robert Reedy
Shallow drilling and instrument installation
  Daniel Ortuno Daniel Ortuno
Geophysical log library
  Daniel Ortuno Todd Caldwell, Ph. D.
Near-surface geophysics, instrumentation, and soil physics
  Daniel Ortuno Brent Elliott
Economic geologist / mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, geochemistry, mapping and exploration, economic geology
  John Hupp John Hupp
Remote Sensing Specialist
 

Contact NSO

Jeffrey G. Paine
email
(U.S.) 512-471-1260

 

 
Current projects: Wink Sinkholes

The Frugal Geophysicist

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©2014 Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin