Dr. Stephen E. Laubach

Stephen E. Laubach is a Senior Research Scientist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau Economic Geology where he leads the fracture and structural diagenesis programs. The focus of the structural diagenesis effort is a new research and training paradigm in sedimentary geochemistry and structural geology (see Journal of Structural Geology, 2010, v. 32, p. 1866-1872). Dr. Laubach’s research interests include unconventional and fractured reservoirs. Dr. Laubach currently serves as Executive Editor for SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering. He served on the AAPG Executive Committee as Elected Editor and was instrumental in founding AAPG’s new Petroleum Structure and Geomechanics Division. He is past chair of the Jackson School's Energy Geoscience Education and Research Group at UT and served as a Co-opted Member of the Petroleum Group Committee of the Geological Society of London (from 2008 to 2012). He was a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2011-2012 and Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers in 2003-2004. He was a member of the Committee to Assess the Science Proposed for a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, National Research Council, 2010-2011 and the Committee on Advanced Drilling Technologies, National Research Council, 1992-1994. He served as co-Chairman of the First North American Rock Mechanics Symposium in 1994. Dr. Laubach supervises graduate student research in structural geology and diagenesis in the Jackson School of Geosciences. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1986 and a B.S. from Tufts University in 1978.

Research Interests

Structural diagenesis [Structural Diagenesis Initiative]

Structural geology; fracture analysis

Geology of unconventional gas resources

Structural petrology; fluid inclusion and cathodoluminescence studies

Application of borehole-imaging geophysical logs to stress and fracture evaluation

Structural evolution of North American Cordillera

Rock mechanics

Researcher ID



B.S. Geology, Tufts University, 1978

M.S. Geology, University of Illinois—Urbana, 1983

Ph.D. Geology, University of Illinois—Urbana, 1986

Selected Publications

Laubach, S.E., Fall, A., Copley, L.K., Marrett, R., Wilkins, S., 2016, Fracture porosity creation and persistence in a basement-involved Laramide fold, Upper Cretaceous Frontier Formation, Green River Basin, U.S.A. Geological Magazine. doi:10.1017/S0016756816000157

Lander R.H., and Laubach, S.E., 2015, Insights into rates of fracture growth and sealing from a model for quartz cementation in fractured sandstones. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 127, no. 3-4, p. 516-538. doi: 10.1130/B31092.1 (published online October 2014) | view at publisher

Fall, A., Eichhubl, P., Bodnar, R. J., Laubach, S. E., Davis, J. S., 2015, Natural hydraulic fracturing of tight-gas sandstone reservoirs, Piceance Basin, Colorado. Geological Society of America Bulletin. v. 127, no. 1-2, p. 61-75. doi:10.1130/B31021.1 | view at publisher

Alzayer, Y., Eichhubl, P., Laubach, S.E., 2015, Non-linear growth kinematics of opening-mode fractures. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 74, p. 31-44. doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2015.02.003 (published online March 2015) | view at publisher

Hooker, J.N., Larson, T., Eakin, A., Laubach, S.E., Eichhubl, P., Fall, A., Marrett, R., 2015, Fracturing and fluid-flow in a sub-décollement sandstone; or, a leak in the basement. Journal of The Geological Society, London. v. 172, p. 428-442. doi: 10.1144/jsg2014-128. (Published online May 2015) | view at publisher

Laubach, S.E., Eichhubl, P. Hargrove, P., Ellis, M.A., Hooker, J.N., 2014, Fault core and damage zone fracture attributes vary along strike owing to interaction of fracture growth, quartz accumulation, and differing sandstone composition. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 68, Part A, 207-226. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2014.08.007 | view at publisher

Hooker, J.N., Laubach, S.E., and Marrett, R., 2013, Fracture-aperture size–frequency, spatial distribution, and growth processes in strata-bounded and non-strata-bounded fractures, Cambrian Mesón Group, NW Argentina. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 54, p. 54-71. doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2013.06.011

Ellis, M.A., Laubach, S.E. Eichhubl, P., Olson, J.E. & Hargrove, P., 2012, Fracture development and diagenesis of Torridon Group Applecross Formation, near An Teallach, NW Scotland: millennia of brittle deformation resilience? Journal of the Geological Society, London. v. 169, no. 3, p. 297-310. doi: 10.1144/0016-76492011-086.

Hooker, J.N., Laubach, S.E., Gomez, L., Marrett, R., Eichhubl, P., Diaz-Tushman, K., and Pinzon, E., 2011, Fracture size, frequency, and strain in the Cambrian Eriboll Formation sandstones, NW Scotland. Scottish Journal of Geology, v. 47, no. 1, 45-56. 

Laubach, S.E, P. Eichhubl, C. Hilgers, R.H. Lander, 2010, Structural diagenesis. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 32, no. 12, p. 1866-1872. doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2010.10.001

Becker, S.P., Eichhubl, P. Laubach, S.E., Reed, R.M., Lander, R.H., and Bodnar, R.J., 2010, A 48 m.y. history of fracture opening, temperature, and fluid pressure: Cretaceous Travis Peak Formation, East Texas basin. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 122, no. 7/8, p. 1081-1093. 

Gale, J.F., Lander, R.H., Reed, R.M., and Laubach, S.E., 2010, Modeling fracture porosity evolution in dolostone. Journal of Structural Geology (published online 2009) doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2009.04.018

Olson, J. E., Laubach, S. E., and Lander, R. H., 2009, Natural fracture characterization in tight gas sandstones: integrating mechanics and diagenesis: AAPG Bulletin, v. 93, no. 11, p. 1535-1549.

Laubach, S. E., Olson, J. E., and Gross, M. E., 2009, Mechanical and fracture stratigraphy: AAPG Bulletin, v. 93, no. 11, p. 1413-1426.

Laubach, S.E. and Diaz-Tushman, K., 2009, Laurentian paleostress trajectories and ephemeral fracture permeability, Cambrian Eriboll Formation sandstones west of the Moine thrust zone, northwest Scotland . Journal of the Geological Society ( London ), v. 166, part 2, p. 349-362.

Marrett, R., Laubach, S.E. Olson, J.E., 2007, Anisotropy and beyond: geologic perspectives on geophysical prospecting for natural fractures. The Leading Edge, 26/9, 1106-1111. Reprinted in Fractured reservoirs: A compendium of influential papers (2008), AAPG.

Laubach, S. E., and Ward, M. E., 2006, Diagenesis in porosity evolution of opening-mode fractures, Middle Triassic to Lower Jurassic La Boca Formation, NE Mexico: Tectonophysics, v. 419, nos. 1-4, p. 75-97.

Philip, Z. G., Jennings, J. W., Jr., Olson, J., Laubach, S. E., and Holder, Jon, 2005, Modeling coupled fracture-matrix fluid flow in geomechanically simulated fracture networks: Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, v. 8, no. 4, p. 300-309.

Laubach, S. E., Olson, J. E., and Gale, J. F. W. 2004, Are open fractures necessarily aligned with maximum horizontal stress? Earth & Planetary Science Letters, v. 222, no. 1, p. 191-195.

Laubach, S. E., Reed, R. M., Olson, J. E., Lander, R. H., and Bonnell, L. M., 2004, Coevolution of crack-seal texture and fracture porosity in sedimentary rocks: cathodoluminescence observations of regional fractures: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 26, no. 5, p. 967-982.

Laubach, S. E., 2003, Practical approaches to identifying sealed and open fractures , AAPG Bulletin, v. 87, No. 4, (April 2003) 561-579. | view at publisher

Selected Service

Executive Editor, SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, 2015-present.

Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Structural Geology, 2014-Present

Member, Council on Earth Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, 2013–Present

Elected Editor and Member, Executive Committee, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2010-2013

Member, Petroleum Group Committee, Geological Society of London, 2007-2012

Chair, AAPG Academic Liaison Committee, 2004 – 2007

Editorial Board, AAPG Bulletin, 2000–2002; 2010-2011 

Editorial Board, SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering, 1998-present; Associate Editor 2012-present

Member, Committee on Advanced Drilling Technologies, National Research Council 1992–1994

JSG Structural Diagenesis Initiative


Fellow, Geological Society of America. Elected 2016

Distinguished Service Award, AAPG, 2016

Distinguished Lecturer, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2011–2012

BEG Centennial Distinguished Lecturer, 2009

One of 10 Journal of Structural Geology Top Reviewers, 2008

Energy Minerals Division Best Poster Award, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2006

Award for Outstanding Contributions to Basic Research in the Geosciences Geosciences Research Program, Basic Energy Sciences, September 2004, Dr. Rob Lander and Dr. Stephen E. Laubach, Geoscom, L.L.C, and Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, Predicting Fracture Porosity Evolution in Sandstone 

Distinguished Lecturer, Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2003–2004

Jules Braunstein Memorial Award, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 1999

Outstanding Technical Editor, Society of Petroleum Engineers, 1999, 2007, 2009

Energy Minerals Division Best Paper Award, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 1992

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