Bureau scientists have a history of leading-edge research in the
development of concepts and models for sediment deposition. Their scientific
contributions have been of great importance to the worldwide search for
and production of fossil energy. As the energy industry is the major employer
of geoscientists, many industry-bound graduate students from Latin America
choose to study with the team of scientists at the Bureau and the Department
of Geological Sciences.
Latin American research
enables the Bureau to fulfill many research and educational objectives.
One such benefit provides Bureau scientists access to large sedimentary
basin datasets. These datasets, usually owned by major oil companies,
provide an integrated team of researchers and students with the data they
need for continuing forefront research. An integrated team may include
experts in disciplines such as geophysics, sedimentology, stratigraphy,
petrophysics, petrology, geochemistry, and petroleum engineering. Technical
experts from the host country commonly work with Bureau teams on various
aspects of each study.
Texas Coastal Lessons to Latin America
The Bureau was a pioneer in the 1960s and 1970s in
recognizing the importance of geology and geologic processes to development
of natural resources and land use, especially in coastal areas. Knowing
the location of areas with a high potential for erosion or flooding, for
example, or the distribution of wetlands, should be major considerations
for decisions about land use and/or the conservation of critical environments.
Bureau studies conducted during this time, which resulted in a series
of major reports covering the entire Texas coast, are still primary sources
of information for the region. In the 1990s, Bureau scientists began
applying the principles developed in Texas to regions in Latin America.
Since the mid-1990s, Bureau scientists have enjoyed collaborative
environmental studies in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, and Venezuela. These studies included scientists
and professionals from the host countries, many of whom have years of
invaluable experience. Bureau researchers have been afforded exciting
opportunities to apply advanced technologies and modern concepts to areas
that have had relatively little study. The value of collaboration and
research is significant to everyone in South, Central, and North America.