Texas Tech University

News and Announcements


  • We are very excited to announce our very own Mary Catherine Hastert has been awarded the Chancellor's Award of Excellence! The Chancellor's Award of Excellence is given to a staff member who demonstrates exemplary service and commitment to the Texas Tech University System and the achievement of its goals through his or her actions throughout the year. One award is given out each year to a staff member who has promoted change within their department, and motivates fellow faculty. Congratulations Mary Catherine on this wonderful accomplishment!
  • We are proud to announce Dr. Sandip Pal was given the 2019 Open Access Award for Publications through the Faculty Research Committee at the Texas Tech University Libraries for showing commitment to open access via publishing in high-impact open access journals, and serving as a reviewer for various reputed journals and an associate editor of an open access journal.
  • Dr. Nagihara was featured in Texas Tech Today for his lunar heat flow probe for NASA's mission to the Moon.
  • Water has been a big issue in West Texas for decades – and for good reason. Not only is it absolutely vital to sustain both the lives of the people and animals here as well as the agricultural industries for which this area is famous, it's also a limited resource. Arid-zone hydrology is the study of the water cycle – precipitation, surface runoffs, infiltration to and evaporation from soil, water-usage by plants, and recharge of groundwater – in arid regions, including Southern High Plains of West Texas. Thanks to a National Science Foundation grant, Dr. Horita is getting a new tool to help him in this pivotal research: a high-precision water isotope analyzer.
  • Dr. Hetherington, in collaboration with Rauf Arif and TJ Martinez (Journalism & Creative Media Industries) was awarded $299,998 by the National Science Foundation to lead an International Research Experience for Students (IRES) to the University of Pretoria during the summers of 2020-2022. During the IRES students will conduct research on magnetite-pipes in the eastern Bushveld Complex, learn about precious metals and strategic mineral exploration, extraction and supply chains, learn about strategies for social media journalism and multimedia story telling. The outcomes of the communication research will be used to develop communication strategies for increasing participation in Study Abroad programs by under-represented student cohorts. Learn more at southafrica.geosciences.ttu.edu
  • Drs. John Schroeder (Geosciences), Brian Ancell (Geosciences), and Brian Hirth (National Wind Institute) received a $582,000 award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to deploy new 4D measurement and modeling techniques to advance understanding of windstorm characteristics and provide input and validation of numerical, experimental and empirical modeling efforts. The award leverages Texas Tech University's StickNet and the TTUKa radar platforms to make comprehensive measurements of low level wind structure, while a state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction system will be used to model the same windstorms.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Sandip Pal who received a new grant from NASA: "Multi-instrument observations of greenhouse gases across frontal boundary and comparison with WRF-Chem simulations", PI: S. Pal, NASA ACT-America (Earth Venture Suborbital Mission, Atmospheric Carbon and Transport- America), $159,077, 2019-2021.
  • We are saddened to report that Dr. Bill Mueller (Ph.D. 2015), Assistant Curator of Paleontology Tech Tech Museum, passed away on May 7, 2019. He was a good friend and colleague and will be sorely missed.
  • Dr. Sandip Pal has received the International Research and Development Seed Grant 2019 awarded by the TTU Office of International Affairs. His project is "Impact of Advected Urban Boundary Layer on the Atmospheric Dynamics and Convection Initiations over the Adjacent Sub-urban and Rural areas." Congratulations!
  • We are proud to announce that Justin Weaver, instructor for Atmospheric Sciences, will be awarded the 2019 Professing Excellence Award! Each year, Texas Tech students are given the opportunity to nominate faculty members and present awards to those who have demonstrated exceptional educational skills. Congratulations to Justin for winning this award and representing the Department of Geosciences!
  • Geology summer field camp will be here soon. Please consider giving to the Field Camp Scholarship to help defray expenses for our students attending field camp. 
  • Dr. Sandip Pal named Associate Editor for Atmospheric Sciences Letters (Royal Meteorological Society). 
  • We are very pleased to report that Dr. John Schroeder has been named as the Senior Director of the National Wind Institute.  In addition, John will serve as the Technical Director for Prediction and Measurement, one of the three areas of NWI research excellence.
  • The NASA InSight Mission probe successfully landed on the surface of Mars on November 26.  Dr. Seiichi Nagihara is working on the mission to learn how the thermal conductivity of the Mars regolith is affected by seasonal changes in surface atmospheric pressure and temperature.  
  • Dr. Eric Bruning will receive the 2018 Atmospheric and Space Electricity Early Career Award at AGU's Fall Meeting 2018.  The award recognizes "outstanding early career contributions to atmospheric and space electricity." Dr. Bruning's research has combined his observational studies with innovative theoretical methods to provide new insights into the processes by which storms produce lightning.  Congratulations Eric!
  • Dr. Seiichi Nagihara was recently selected by NASA  to join the Mars InSight Mission. This team will study data never before collected. "There have been many missions to Mars, but this one is different from the rover missions," says Nagihara. "This mission will probe beneath the planet's surface for the first time." 
  • The department welcomes Dr. Sandip Pal. His research interests lie in the development and application of advanced ground-based and airborne lidar systems for defining atmospheric state variables, tracers, aerosol properties, and boundary layer dynamics and turbulence features. Sandip was an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Meteorology & Atmospheric Science at Penn State before joining TTU.
  • The department welcomes Dr. Neo McAdams. Her research focuses on understanding the geochronology of the Silurian system across the United States. Within her research she uses integrated high-resolution biochemistratigraphy for assessing these dynamics. Before joining TTU, Neo obtained her PhD from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Iowa
  • The department welcomes Dr. Kevin Mulligan as the new Chair of Geosciences. Dr. Mulligan has a research background in geomorphology and geographic information systems. He has taught geography and GIS courses at Texas Tech for nearly 20 years. The department would also like to thank Dr. Jeff Lee for his service as Chair over the past five years. 
  • We are sad to report that Dr. Otis W. Templer Jr passed away on May 8, 2018.  Dr. Templer was among the founders of the Department of Geography and served on the faculty at Texas Tech for more than 45 years. If you would like to remember Dr. Templer and acknowledge his many contributions to the department and the university, his family suggests memorial contributions to the Otis and Josephine Templer Geography Scholarship Endowment"
  • Christopher Weiss received a $324,000 NSF grant to support a research project titled, "Collaborative Research: Target Observation by Radars and UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) of Supercells (TORUS)."
  • Thanks to all of you for another great Research Day in our department!
  • Dr. Zhe Zhu received a grant from Monsanto: "Quantifying Cotton Water Stress Using Unmanned Aerials Systems and Satellite Remote Sensing", Co-I: Z. Zhu, $130,000, 2018-2019
  • Dr. George B. Asquith was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Geoscience Department. The award was in recognition of his distinguished lifetime achievement.
  • Dr. Steven Henderson, a faculty member in TTU Petroleum Engineer will be presented with a "Professing Excellence" teaching award on April 3rd. Dr. Henderson received both his MS (1992: Prof. Jacka) and Ph.D. (1995: Prof. Asquith) in Geoscience Department.
  • Alton Wade and Pappy Yeats's adventures in the Antarctic.

Media Spotlight (KTXT radio)


Weiss and Dahl

Chris Weiss and Johannes Dahl talk about how tornadoes form.



Dustin Sweet

Dustin Sweet talks about glaciers.