Institute for the Study of Fluids and Structures

We train students in the quantitative techniques of geochemistry, hydrogeology and structural geology. Integration is the key, and we collaboratively work with our students to design personalized projects that develop their skills in analytical and experimental laboratory work, fieldwork, computer modeling and geostatistics. Our graduate students are well-positioned for successful employment in industries from petroleum geology to mining and hydrogeological/environmental consulting.

Current Projects

Hydrogeology of Salt Welds

In collaboration with Kate Giles (UTEP) and Mark Rowan (Rowan Consulting) of the Salt-Sediment Interaction Research Consortium and with generous funding from ConocoPhillips, we are conducting an industry-sponsored project that will characterize the hydrological behavior of salt welds. This project began in the summer of 2015 and integrates field work in South Australia with laboratory analysis of vein geochemistry. Please contact Mark Fischer for details.

Metals in High-Temperature Fluids

Magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits are important sources of metals; however, there are many outstanding questions on how these deposits form. This three-year, NSF-funded study will increase our understanding of the transportation of metals in hydrothermal fluids and the process of precipitation responsible for the formation of select ore deposits. Please contact Mark Frank for details.

Geologic CO2 Sequestration in Mafic Reservoirs (hosted at Virginia Tech)

Large igneous provinces, e.g., Columbia River Basalt Group, have been proposed for geologic CO2 disposal on the basis of rapid mineralization reactions that may permanently isolate waste carbon in deep, saline reservoirs. Although this technology has shown promise in the lab, the pervasively fractured nature of basalt reservoirs makes them a challenge to accurately characterize in the field. In addressing this uncertainty, Ryan Pollyea and his students are using stochastic modeling techniques to constrain the probability of geomechanical reservoir integrity for various CO2 injection scenarios at the Wallula Basalt Sequestration Pilot Project in southeast Washington state. This project is funded by the U.S. Dept. of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory through December 2017.

Senior Researchers

Completed Graduate Students

  • Cory Hunter (M.S. 2016): hired by Providence Engineering, LA.
  • I. Camilo Higuera-Díaz (M.S. 2005): hired by Ecopetrol, Colombia.
  • Matt Fleming (M.S. 2015): hired by Repsol, TX.
  • Kendle Fraley (M.S. 2012): hired by Barrick Gold, NV.
  • John Hanke (M.S. 2015): hired by Schlumberger, TX.
  • Rick Jayne (M.S. 2015): enrolled in Virginia Tech Ph.D. program.
  • Phil Kenroy (M.S. 2013): hired by Occidental Petroleum, CA.
  • Colby Lubanowski (M.S. 2015): hired by Weston Solutions, Inc., CO.
  • Michael Madison (M.S. 2009): hired by Whiting Petroleum, CO.
  • Matthew Mann (M.S. 2017): Mann Geologic Consulting LLC.
  • Ann Shillaber (M.S. 2014): hired by CB&I, IL.
  • Adam Smith (M.S. 2010): hired by Samson Resources, OK.
  • David Vaccaro (M.S. 2010): hired by Imerys, CA.
  • Erik Van Dusen (M.S. 2014): hired by Murphy Oil, TX.
  • Nick Williams (M.S. 2017): hired by Nexen Energy, TX.
  • Joshua Zodarecky (M.S. 2016): hired by South Carolina Dept. of Health and Environmental Control.

Contact Us

Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
Davis Hall, Room 312

815-753-0631 (undergraduate)
815-753-1943 (graduate)

815-753-1945 (fax)

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