Austin provides an ideal base from which to conduct research projects in all aspects of geological science. Ready access to exposures of Phanerozoic siliciclastic and carbonate strata and Precambrian igneous and metamorphic basement rocks is possible from the University's Central Texas location. Numerous field-intensive studies for master's and doctoral degrees are generally in progress in Texas and in other states. Field research is currently being conducted on virtually every continent and major ocean basin.
Research facilities include the Joseph C. and Elizabeth C. Walter Geology Library and Tobin International Map Collection, located in the Geology Building. The department supports a variety of computational resources for graduate student research, including state-of-the-art PC/Macintosh and Unix laboratories, departmental servers, and associated peripherals and software. Analytical equipment includes a JEOL scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive spectrometer; Siemens and automated Rigaku X-ray diffractometers; a single crystal diffractometer; a JEOL 733 Superprobe (electron microprobe) with four wavelength-dispersive spectrometers and an energy-dispersive detector; a Jobin Yvon 70P inductively coupled plasma spectrometer; a USGS-type gas flow fluid inclusion stage; a Technosyn luminoscope; clean laboratories for preparation of samples for rubidium-strontium, uranium-lead, samarium-neodymium, and other isotopic analyses; Finnigan-MAT 261 and NBS-type solid-source mass spectrometers; a gas-source mass spectrometer for conventional potassium-argon dating; two VG gas-source mass spectrometers for hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon stable-isotope analysis; a Perkin-Elmer atomic absorption spectrophotometer; and a high-resolution computed X-ray tomographic scanner used for nondestructive three-dimensional examination of geologic and materials science samples. Two Micromass inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometers--a magnetic-sector multicollector mass spectrometer (Isoprobe) and a quadrapole mass spectrometer (Platform)--interfaced with a Merchantek 213-nm wavelength laser ablation unit are available for chemical and isotope analysis of diverse geological materials. Experimental equipment includes a 1-m x 1.5-m x 10-m flume for sediment transport studies and an experimental petrology laboratory containing hydrothermal pressure apparatus and one-atmosphere gas mixing furnaces. Research collections consisting of about 1,000,000 vertebrate paleontology specimens (250,000 of which are cataloged) and about 4,000,000 nonvertebrate specimens, including a type collection of about 5,000 specimens, are housed at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus. Additional support for research includes a petrographic laboratory containing a Logitech thin section machine, another thin section laboratory for student use, a machine shop, an electronics shop, and a wet chemistry laboratory. Department staff members maintain the facilities for analytical chemistry, carpentry, computation, drafting, electronics, metal fabrication, and photography.
Areas of active research in the Department of Geological Sciences include studies in sedimentary depositional systems; hydrogeology; paleoclimatology; structural geology; regional tectonics; seismology; paleomagnetism; seismic reflection and refraction; isotope and trace-element geochemistry; sedimentary geochemistry; igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic petrology; ore deposits and industrial mineral resources; and vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology. Cooperative research projects are underway with the Center for Space Research, the Institute for Geophysics, and the Bureau of Economic Geology.
The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 2000-2001.
The preliminary education of students who intend to become candidates for a graduate degree in geological sciences usually includes credit for suitable courses in general geology, paleontology, mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, optical mineralogy, field geology, physics, chemistry, biology, computer sciences, and calculus. Geophysicists are expected to have a sound foundation in both mathematics and physics; paleontologists and biostratigraphers must include suitable preparation in the comparative morphology and genetics of living organisms. Students without the necessary foundation for advanced study and research may be required to take additional coursework.
The department offers both the Master of Science in Geological Sciences and the Master of Arts. The Master of Science in Geological Sciences requires twenty-four semester hours of coursework and a thesis; it is designed for those planning doctoral study or seeking employment in which research and problem-solving skills are essential.
The Master of Arts degree program requires thirty hours of coursework and a report; it is designed for students who wish to enhance their technical education. The programs in hydrogeology and petroleum geology require the student to take courses chosen from a list available from the graduate adviser. In other disciplines, Master of Arts degree programs are designed by petition to the graduate adviser.
Degree programs for the Master of Science in Geological Sciences and the Doctor of Philosophy are designed for each student by his or her committee.
Additional requirements, policies, and procedures are described in a brochure available from the graduate adviser's office.
Campus address: Geology Building (GEO) 104, phone (512) 471-6098, fax (512) 471-9425; campus mail code: C1100
Mailing address: Graduate Program, Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1101
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