Biostratigraphic data sets are compiled with the use of foraminifers, conodonts, and radiolarians present in strata of the Bell Canyon Formation (late Middle Permian) and its stratigraphic equivalents in the Guadalupe and Apache mountains. Integration of a conodont biostratigraphy of the Lower Permian of Kansas are done in collaboration with other universities (Oklahoma State) and the USGS.
Climate Research Group
Comprehensive climate models in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research are applied to predict climate and marine carbon cycle for the past, present and future. Current UTA research projects focuses on paleoclimatic changes during hothouse climates, e.g. the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (55 million years before present), the Permian-Triassic boundary (250 million years before present), and climate and carbon cycle changes during the last deglaciation.
Environmental Geochemistry Research
Current work is focused on methods of converting the environmentally hazardous element lead (Pb), often found in soils in high concentrations, to a less hazardous form. Easily bio-accessible lead in urban soils poses a toxicological threat to pediatric populations, converting the Pb in situ to a sparingly soluble form reduces that threat. Current efforts by the group are focused the cost-effective addition of phosphates to soil to facilitate the formation of highly insoluble Pb-phosphate phases.
Field- and laboratory-based research program that concentrates on reconstructing paleoenvironmental changes and identifying the underlying climate forcing mechanisms responsible for the changes. Currently funded projects include 1) development of Holocene/Pleistocene records of climate change preserved in stalagmites from the south-central Appalachians of West Virginia and Tennessee, and 2) development of Permo-Triassic paleoceanographic records.
Geomechanics research is grounded in field work, laboratory rock and fracture mechanics, and theoretical mechanical modeling, all of which are applied to problems related to earthquake hazards, the architecture of petroleum fields, and the design of underground mines. Current research is focused on experimental investigation of rock friction at fast slip rates and large normal stress, field-based study of the mechanics of kilometer-scale clastic intrusions, & numerical investigation of roof stability problems in mines related to topographic stress perturbations.
Focus on the studies of chemical processes in the intersection of the hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, particularly on the nexus of environment, energy, and water resources. In particular, the coupling of physical, chemical, and biological processes, and the application of hydrology and aqueous geochemistry to critical issues of groundwater contamination and energy security such as nuclear waste disposal and carbon sequestration.
Sedimentary rocks provide the most continuous record of mountain building process, climate change, and paleogeography. Current research focuses on describing sedimentary structures and stacking patterns, collecting quantitative proxy data, interpreting the processes involved in sediment transport, determining topographic, climatic and diagenetic influence on sediment isotopic record, and subsidence modeling of forming accommodation space.
Structural Geology and Tectonics Research
Research highlights the measurement of natural strain and its relationship to folds and faults. Geometric and numerical modeling of geologic deformation is utilized. Research has been conducted on fracturing and fracture density studies as well as regional structural geology particularly in the areas of the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Appalachians, U.S. Rocky Mountains, California Coast Ranges and theTaiwan Foldbelt.