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Departments & Programs


Graduate Students

Wisam AlKawai

I am a PhD student working with Stephan Graham and Tapan Mukerji and a member of both BPSM and SPODDS research groups. I am interested in interdisciplinary characterization of sedimentary basin and petroleum systems that integrates structural evolution and sedimentation history to understand geologic factors controlling the petroleum system development.
My research project focuses on the petroleum system development in the Thunder Horse mini-basin in the Gulf of Mexico. Key topics addressed in this project include the influence of salt movement on the sedimentation and hence the reservoir architecture, the mechanisms for developing overpressure in the mini-basin and the impact of salt and overpressure on source rock maturation and migration pathways.

Jared Gooley , Ph.D. Student

I am a fourth year Ph.D. student working with Steve Graham and a member of the Sedimentary Research Group. I am interested studying source-to-sink sediment transport patterns and basin development during the transition from convergent to transform margins. My current research focuses on the Cenozoic evolution of two systems: 1) the San Joaquin Basin and adjacent Salinian Block of Central California, USA; and 2) the Marlborough and Northern Canterbury Regions on the South Island of New Zealand.


My work in California uses detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology to characterize provenance changes in deep-water sedimentation due to the development of the San Andreas transform margin and uplift of the Coastal Ranges. My work in New Zealand employs a variety of methods, including characterizing outcrop stratigraphic architecture, sandstone petrology, conglomerate clast composition, and detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology and U-Th/He thermochronology to address questions of deep-water sediment transport patterns in response to the onset of uplift, local basement exhumation, and subsequent development of the oblique-slip Marlborough Fault System.


Earth Jaikla

I am a third year PhD student working with Donald Lowe and Tapan Mukerji. I am interested in both classic geological study as well as interdisciplinary research combining geology, geophysics and engineering to generate predictive spatial models. My research focuses on resolving sedimentology, stratigraphic architecture, and evolution of deep-water systems in two structurally complexed areas using both outcrop and subsurface data. The current projects include outcrop study of the Pigeon Point Formation, California and subsurface study of the large-scale distribution of deep-water lithofacies of the Zupfing and Lower Puchkirchen formations in the Austrian Molasse Basin.

Samantha Ritzer

I am a PhD student working with Erik Sperling. My research focuses on understanding the initial depositional conditions of organic-rich shale (and other fine-grained rocks) using iron, sulfur, and trace metal proxies. I aim to investigate changes in paleoredox conditions, both temporally as well as spatially (with respect to intra-basin location and basin morphology) and how those changes might affect the viability of the shale as a source rock or unconventional target. My present work is a broad-scale multi-proxy study designed to infer common geochemical patterns from target formations in a number of basins in North America. I am also interested in refining current paleoredox proxies using both modern and ancient sediments.

Zachary Thomas Sickmann

Current projects include: Detrital zircon provenance of modern sediment in Monterey Canyon, Central California; Detailed provenance analysis of Upper Cretaceous forearc stratigraphy of the Great Valley Group, Northern California; Basin scale architecture of a retro foreland basin prograding slope system, Cretaceous Magallanes Basin, Argentine Patagonia.

Richard Stockey

I am a PhD student with Erik Sperling. My research focuses on tracking trends in the global extent of ocean anoxia and euxinia through the geologic record. I use iron, carbon and trace metal geochemistry to analyze local and global paleoredox conditions in sedimentary successions from North Africa, the United States and Northwest Canada. I am currently working on developing multi-proxy trace metal isotope approaches to quantifying global anoxia and euxinia in deep time. Through the steady-state forward modeling of depositional environments and their impact on geochemical cycling, I aim to integrate field-based stratigraphy and sedimentology with novel trace metal isotope measurements to predict the distribution of anoxic intervals through the geologic record.


Cody Trigg , PhD Candidate, Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences

I am a fifth-year PhD student working with Don Lowe on the following topics:

  • Process sedimentology of slurry flow deposits of the Tyee Formation, OR
  • Sedimentology of the Wilcox Formation, GoM
  • Stratigraphic architecture of the syn-rift Burqan Formation, Saudi Arabia
  • Slurry flows in confined settings