Texas Tech University

Potential Research Projects

Research Opportunites at Texas Tech Unversity Department of Geosciences


 Faculty projects

Dr. Katie Ardill

•Geologic mapping of volcanic and plutonic arc sections. Fieldwork, map digitization, and analytical work (e.g., petrography, geochronology, geochemistry).

•Whole-rock and mineral geochemistry from plutonic rocks to investigate regional- and local -scale magmatic and tectonic processes.

Dr. Abinashi Bhattachan

•Studying the effect of ambient and fugitive dust on crop and vegetation productivity

Dr. Harold Gurrola

•Upper mantle transition zone (410 to 660 km depths) and the lithosphere using P-to-S converted waves (receiver functions) or PP underside reflections. 

•The crust (mid crust and Moho) using gravity and seismic methods

•Shallow features such as playa lakes using electrical and seismic methods.

Dr. Jen Henderson

  • Building knowledge of how compound hazards (e.g. tornadoes and storm surge) within the shifting vulnerabilities of Covid-19 are understood, assessed, and communicated by meteorologists and public safety officials during landfalling tropical cyclones 
  • Understanding through an interdisciplinary team lens why tornado disaster potential and mortality is greater in the Southeast compared to any other U.S. region and how to co-develop actionable science with high-risk communities to reduce social vulnerability.  
  • Through mixed-methods research developing theories of how compound and cascading hazards (e.g. drought and wildfires) impact and magnify harm and alter expert conceptualizations of vulnerability and resilience.  
  • Development of secondary analysis frameworks, laboratory practices, and data sharing ethics for qualitative methods in disaster contexts.
Dr. Callum Hetherington

•Tracking textures and trace element signatures in strategic minerals.

•Trace element and textural signatures of rock-forming events in rock-forming silicates.

•Integrating the petrography of multiple accessory minerals to understanding crustal processes

Dr. Juske Horita

•Molecular and intramolecular stable isotope geochemistry of natural gases from petroleum-producing basins (Permian, Anadarko and others)

•Water cycle in the land-atmosphere-biosphere continuum in arid/semi-arid environments, including vadose-zone, playa, and groundwater. 


Dr. Neo McAdams

•Integrated carbon isotope chemostratigraphy, conodont biostratigraphy, and trace element geochemical characterization of Middle (Taghanic) and Middle-Upper (Frasnes) Devonian biogeochemical events (isotope excursions, extinctions, seawater redox state). 

•Silurian, Mississippian, and Pennsylvanian conodont biostratigraphy and taxonomy projects. Conodont morphometric analysis.

Dr. Seiichi Nagihara

•Characterization of surface geology and thermal environment for selecting sites to land spacecraft on the Moon (mainly analysis of remote sensing data)

•Lab testing of thermal sensors to be deployed on the Moon  (heavily physics oriented)

Dr. Jeffrey Nittrouer

•Influence of tectonics on sediment dispersal and stratigraphy of the Selenga River delta, Lake Baikal, Russian Federation

•Paleohydraulic reconstruction using outcrop data from the Western Irish Namurian Basin

•Vegetal control on river meandering

Dr. Sandip Pal
  • Combined lidar and tower-based investigation of atmospheric boundary layer turbulence and entrainment zone processes

  • Exploring the complexities in atmospheric boundary layer dynamics over mountainous regions using lidar and in-situ observations

  • Employing a combined observation and simulation-based framework to investigate spatiotemporal variability in urban heat and associated heat advection
    Multi-instrument observations of greenhouse gases across frontal boundary and comparison with WRF-Chem simulations

  • Applying Machine Learning Techniques to Airborne Science Planning and Real-Time Column Mole Fraction Estimates for Integrated Path Differential Absorption Lidar

  • Variations in ozone concentrations over the Île-de-France region associated with spatiotemporal characteristics of atmospheric boundary layer dynamics
Dr. Moira Ridley

•Evaluating the structure and dynamics of interfacial water at manganese-oxide surfaces

•Exploring the mechanism of Al adsorption on corundum

•Understanding the relationship between proton and electron transfer in pyrolusite dissolution

Dr. Branimir Segvic

•Shale diagenesis in Pennsylvanian strata of the Anadarko Basin, OK

•REE mobility in low-grade diagenetic/hydrothermal systems (SE Europe)

•Organic petrology and clay mineral indices to constrain shale maturation in the Permian Basin, TX

•Use of clay minerals as raw material in the production of archaeological pottery (interdisciplinary study)

Dr. Jay Tung

•Probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment and its relation to sea-level rise investigated through augmented-reality data visualization

•Rapid geophysical modeling and machine learning for global earthquake deformation

•Understanding active volcanos through InSAR, GPS, and finite element models

•Assessing induced seismic hazards in the fields of oil/gas production, geothermal production, wastewater disposal, and groundwater pumping

Dr. Dustin Sweet

•Provenance of the Quaternary Blackwater Draw Formation of the southern High Plains, TX

•Quartz grain microtextures of Pleistoence till and glaciofluvial deposits of North America

•Subsidence and basin filling history of the Eagle basin, CO

Dr. Paul Sylvester

•U-Pb geochronology and gold mineralization of calcite veins, Denali Fault, Alaska 

•Zircon-Hf isotope and feldspar-Pb isotope basement mapping, New Mexico 

•U-Pb zircon age and radiogenic isotope geochemistry of Early Archean granites, Western Australia 

•U-Pb zircon and Pb-isotope feldspar provenance of Carboniferous sandstones, Newfoundland

Dr. Chris Weiss
  • Mobile Doppler radar analysis of supercell thunderstorm boundaries; relating structure and position of these boundaries to low-level vorticity amplification
  • In situ analysis of quasi-linear convective systems, how air density gradients relate to tornado occurrence
  • Application of ensemble sensitivity analysis to dynamics on the convective scale
Dr. Aaron Yoshinobu

•Testing models of marginal basin formation & destruction in the Late Jurassic North American Cordillera – involving field work, structure/strain analysis, and detrital zircon analysis in collaboration with Dr. Kathy Surpless. Field work in Jan. & June 2022. NSF funded through 2024.

• Kinematics and timing of gypsum vein formation based on coupled structural analysis and river terrace geomorphology. 

•Field geology of the Southern High Plains – developing an integrated GIS of surficial deposits and bedrock geology along the Cap Rock Escarpment.

•Structure & strain evolution of a Proterozoic orogen, Manzano Mountains, NM – Tons of field and microstructural work!