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GEOL2024AYEJOTO24525 GEOL

Assessing Urban Heat Island Intensity Using Landsat Data

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Daniel Ayejoto Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Gebremichael Esayas Geological Sciences

GEOL2024CRENWELGE35886 GEOL

Tracking Soil Organic Carbons Near the Trinity River

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Julie Crenwelge Geological Sciences Christelle Fayad Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Omar Harvey Geological Sciences

GEOL2024FOXX7187 GEOL

Using Spatial Analysis to Identify Patterns in Reptilian Dermal Ornamentation

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sarah Foxx Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences Arthur Busbey Geological Sciences

The dermal ornamentation of reptiles and lower vertebrates is a largely untouched field of research, and thus common patterns or a specific purpose for the ornamentation has yet to be identified and/or agreed upon by paleontologists. This study strives to use various spatial and image analysis techniques to identify any patterns in the ornamentation on the skulls of both ‘lower’ vertebrate captorhinids and modern crocodilians to better understand the purpose of such ornamentation and why it has persisted from lower vertebrates to modern-day reptiles. Any information that can be derived from the research may aid modern understanding of the evolution from lower vertebrates to modern reptiles.

GEOL2024HAFFNER33872 GEOL

Heat Severity Influence on Median Household Income Across Fort Worth, TX

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Audrey Haffner Environmental Sciences Blake Harrison Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences Brendan Lavy Environmental Sciences

This research identifies the relationship between heat severity and median household income across Fort Worth, Texas. As global temperatures continue to rise the urban heat island (UHI) effect becomes more severe, especially in low-income communities due to disparity to past discriminatory housing policies. This study utilizes the ArcGIS Pro software to create a series of maps using census data to acquire the objectives of this study.

GEOL2024HENK25380 GEOL

Facies Characterization of the De Grey River's Delta Plain

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Henry Henk Geological Sciences Jacinto Garza Geological Sciences Matt Kelly Geological Sciences Tripp Smith Geological Sciences Andrew Winch Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): John Holbrook Geological Sciences Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences Simon Lang Geological Sciences Victorien Paumard Geological Sciences

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GEOL2024MOLLENDOR23331 GEOL

Trends in Energy Consumption With Population Growth

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Kenna Mollendor Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences

ENSC2023BONECK8740 GEOL

Income and Road Quality Correlation in Texas

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Megan Boneck Environmental Sciences Audrey Haffner Environmental Sciences Gisela Pacheco Environmental Sciences Zoey Suasnovar Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 8, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

This research assesses the relationship between income per capita and the amount of maintenance received for the major roads across the State of Texas. Relevant datasets and analysis techniques such as demographic (census data), population density (distribution), road network, maintenance records, etc. will be carried out using ArcGIS Pro software. A series of maps highlighting analysis results derived based on the various parameters will be produced to provide a comprehensive overview of the relationship between the variables, if any, that would be useful for future decision-making.

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GEOL2023DARGE52617 GEOL

Sinkhole Detection and Characterization in West-central Texas using InSAR Time Series and Electrical Resistivity Tomography.

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Yosef Darge Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 3, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

Sinkhole hazards pose a major threat to key infrastructure and human lives in Taylor and Jones counties in West Central Texas. These counties are underlain by soluble evaporite and carbonate rocks. In this study, a data fusion approach was adopted in which multi-source datasets and techniques were combined to detect and map the spatial distribution of sinkholes, quantify their displacement rates, and identify the processes and factors controlling their occurrence. Preliminary results indicate: (a) there is a spatial correspondence between depressions (area: 625 m2 - 2500 m2) identified using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) datasets and previously- mapped sinkholes; (b) deformation rates over the mapped depressions derived using Persistent Scatterer Interferometry technique applied on 53 level-1 Sentinel-1 images (2016 – 2021) and calibrated using long-term (2006 – 2021) GNSS data indicate an average and peak subsidence rates of -6 mm/yr and +5 mm/yr, respectively; (c) clusters of high subsidence rates were noted over areas underlain by evaporites belonging to the Clear Fork Group; (d) efforts to validate the accuracy of the sinkhole detection techniques are currently underway using 2D Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) surveys carried out on the identified subsiding depressions. In addition, groundwater level and discharge time series and other relevant datasets are being integrated to assess the processes and factors that induce the formation of these features. Results of this study could be used to develop an early warning system to implement mitigation strategies to curtail the impacts of the sinkhole hazards in Texas and other parts of the globe.

(Presentation is private)

GEOL2023DARGE64533 GEOL

Wildfire severity assessment using NBR (Normalized Burn Ratio) and NDVI drive indices from Landsat 8 imageries in Mendocino National Forest, California.

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Yosef Darge Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: First Floor, Table 6, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

The Mendocino National Forest was affected by fire in August 2020. It devastated a substantial area of land over the period of three months, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and the evacuation of thousands of people. Moreover, many of the local plantations were destroyed. To evaluate the severity of the impacted area for rehabilitation and restoration, severity data and maps are crucial. This study will combine several geospatial data including multitemporal remote sensing data to identify changes in forest structure and moisture content affected by the fires through burn severity maps. This study will use the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) technique to identify burned areas and provide a measure of burn severity. The NBR is calculated as a ratio between the NIR and SWIR values bands 5 and 7 obtain from pre-fire and post-fire Landsat 8 imageries. This will be followed by generating the Differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (ΔNBR) for pre and after-imageries to map the fire severity. The result of the NBR analysis will be integrated with the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to map vegetation greenness over the study area that will be helpful to validate the accuracy of the NBR analysis. Moreover, elevation dataset (Digital Elevation Model (DEM)) will be used to assess factors that exacerbate emerging wildfires such as topography and slope.

(Presentation is private)

GEOL2023DEMAIO20707 GEOL

Identifying optimal Wind Farm locations using GIS across the United States

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Nicholas DeMaio Geological Sciences Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 2, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

The objective of this research is to conduct wind farm suitability analysis (for energy generation) with a focus on areas that either heavily rely non-renewable sources of energy (parts of Australia) or areas that have limited access to energy. The study will combine several spatial datasets (road networks, population distribution, high mean windspeed, etc.) and analysis products (proximity to roads, national grids, etc.) to determine, through the suitability analysis, whether the wind energy is ideal and economical source of energy for the investigated areas.

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GEOL2023DEMAIO58203 GEOL

Assessing Storm Surge Vulnerability in South Texas based off of Past Extreme Weather Occurrences in conjunction with Sea Level rise

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Nicholas DeMaio Geological Sciences Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremicheal Geological Sciences
Location: Third Floor, Table 4, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

As we move further into the 21st century, Earth's functional processes are experiencing a steady shift, particularly in terms of climate and sea levels. Anthropogenic warming has accelerated the rise of sea levels and increased the frequency, intensity, and rainfall of cyclones and hurricanes. To investigate the impact of rising sea levels on storm surges in vulnerable areas, we utilized remote sensing and GIS technology to come up with an understanding of the influence land cover type has on flood intensity and assess the vulnerability of the Houston area based on storm surges from 2015 - 2022. Our findings underscore the critical need for urgent adaptation and mitigation measures to mitigate the risks associated with changing weather patterns and rising sea levels.

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GEOL2023FENLIN63002 GEOL

Fizgig Pre App Launch Research

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Vincent Fenlin Geological Sciences Ricardo Longoria Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 2, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

The purpose of this project was to identify the best market demographic in the South Florida area (Miami-Dade, and Broward County) for Fizgig. Fizgig a newly developed pet sitting app, is launching their app soon and we need to analyze market demographics to help aid with a successful app launch. Fizgig aims to connect certified pet sitters to pet owners with ease and affordability. Fizgig is not restricted to just cats and dogs, but all pets. Fizgig provides opportunities for those who are certified in pet sitting and want to grow there career in such disciplines. Furthermore, to analyze the capability of a successful launch we used Esri and Google Maps data of median household income, average annual pet spending, and pet sitting association data to pinpoint specific areas (hotspots) in South Florida to focus on the app launch. We concluded that Southeast Miami-Dade, Northwest Broward, and West Broward hotspots had the highest potential for pet sitting employment and app use due to highest pet expenditure in correlation to median income in there respective counties in addition to a high number of pet sitting associations within a close radius of these hotspots.

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GEOL2023FOXX27885 GEOL

Identifying Opportunities for Urban Farming in Tarrant County

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sarah Foxx Geological Sciences Amanda Whitley Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 7, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

For our research project, we plan to use GIS remote sensing technology to locate and identify potential land plots for urban farming. The purpose of this project is to recognize and assist in the issue of food deserts in urban areas such as the DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) metroplex, NYC, and Los Angeles. A food desert refers to any area with limited or no access to affordable, nutritious food. This could include a lack of access to farmers’ markets, vegetable shops, or fresh produce. This project aims to recognize and assist in the issue of food deserts in urban areas with a particular focus on the East Fort Worth/Arlington areas in Tarrant County. Several relevant datasets including high spatial resolution commercial remote sensing and other relevant spatial (such as property appraisal datasets, soil data) and non-spatial datasets, and data analysis products (such as the proximity of the areas to fresh produce/major grocery stores) will be combined in a GIS environment to identify empty plots of lands that could be used for the purposes of urban agriculture and assess their potential for food growth.

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GEOL2023GREGORY32187 GEOL

Stratigraphic and geochemical analysis across the Woodbine-Eagle Ford transition zone, north Texas

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Gunnar Gregory Geological Sciences Richard Denne Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Richard Denne Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 8, Position 3, 11:30-1:30

The greater East Texas Basin represents the portion of the Cretaceous Texas Shelf north of the San Marcos Arch, proximal to the Woodbine siliciclastics sourced from the Ouachita and Sabine uplifts. During the Early to Middle Cenomanian the basin underwent a time-transgressive transition from an oxygenated carbonate platform to an anoxic shelf. The Cenomanian-Turonian aged Woodbine and Eagle Ford Groups have been studied since the late 1800’s; a confusing nomenclature system has been developed for them due to outdated biostratigraphic studies and inaccurate age interpretations, obscuring the age relationships of the various lithostratigraphic units. To study this time-transgressive transition and better understand and define the Woodbine-Eagle Ford contact in north Texas, stratigraphic and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) geochemical data will be collected from USGS near-surface cores drilled in Dallas and Grayson counties, and paired with X-ray diffraction (XRD), inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and core spectral gamma ray data provided by the USGS, and biostratigraphic data provided by Denne. Field work will also be conducted on several outcrop locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex for detailed descriptions and measured sections to be made as well as sample collection for thin section, detrital zircon, and further XRF analysis. The data collected for this study will be used to lithostratigraphically and geochemically define the Woodbine-Eagle Ford transition zone in north Texas with the intent of determining the paleoceanographic conditions during deposition, and determine if this transition is time-transgressive across the DFW Metroplex and North Texas region.

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GEOL2023ISHIMWE4070 GEOL

Using Remote Sensing & Machine Learning Techniques to Model Water Quality Parameters Of Lake Arlington from 2002 to 2023

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Benite Ishimwe Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 3, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

Current in-situ assessments of water quality in lakes can be significantly improved by leveraging recent advances in remote sensing and algorithm development for a faster and more cost-effective approach. This study leveraged satellite- (Landsat 7/8 and Sentinel-2) and UAV-based remote sensing datasets to detect and monitor changes in key water quality parameters (Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and turbidity) within the epilimnion of Lake Arlington (Texas) during the past 20 years. In addition, remote sensing algorithms were developed to capture the spatial variability of the water quality parameters across the entire extent of the water body. The investigation period was divided into two segments: before and after the EPA-established Watershed Protection Plan program (WPP) in 2012 to mitigate the lake's water quality deterioration. A regression model, using satellite-based and historical in-situ observations (2002 – 2020), was developed to predict the targeted water quality parameters across the extent of the lake. Our preliminary results indicate: (1) Chl-a levels at the lake's inlet decreased significantly after 2012 (before: 32.1ug/L; after: 9.2ug/l); also turbidity (via Secchi Disk Depth) across the lake decreased after 2012 (before: 0.6 m; after: 0.5 m); and the spring season had the highest levels of Chl-a followed by the summer season for both before and after 2012 while high turbidity values also coincided with high Chl-a values in the summer, (2) regression analysis revealed a high correlation between the in-situ Chl-a and Landsat (before 2012: spring R2 = 0.62, summer R2=0.66; p-value < 0.01; after 2012: spring R2 = 0.54, summer R2=0.73; p-value < 0.01) and Sentinel-2 bands (2015-2020: spring R2 = 0.99, summer R2=0.82; p-value >0.05). Similarly, the regression analysis revealed a high correlation (2015-2020: spring R2 = 0.98, summer R2=0.57; p-value >0.05) between reflectance from Sentinel-2 bands and in-situ turbidity levels; (3) The optimum spectral band to detect Chl-a was found to be between 590-880nm for Landsat and 665-940 nm for Sentinel-2 while for turbidity it was between 450-670nm for Landsat and 560-705nm for Sentinel-2. Therefore, Sentinel-2 bandwidth was better at detecting Chl-a and turbidity levels in the lake because of its wider bandwidth; (4) Water quality controlling factors in lake Arlington include landcover change, precipitation rates, and the EPA WPP measures. Landcover change between 2001 and 2019 shows an overall 25% increase in urban areas, a 9.5% increase in wetlands, and a 10.7% decrease in grassland which may have contributed to the decline in Chl-a and turbidity values. Finally, efforts to calibrate and improve the accuracy of the satellite-based observations are underway with UAV-acquired multispectral imagery obtained at the time of the Sentinel-2 overpass over the lake.

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GEOL2023KELLY51920 GEOL

Texas Renewable Energy Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Matt Kelly Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 3, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

Given the drastic rise in renewable energy investment across the US and globally, along with global sustainable development goals, it is important to develop techniques for renewable resource assessment. The study aims to identify the most suitable areas for renewable energy development in Texas by analyzing various geospatial factors that influence renewable energy production, such as terrain and land use. Resource-specific data such as surface direct normal irradiance (DNI) and wind speed and power density were used to ensure resource availability. Proximity to important infrastructure was also considered, access to infrastructure is an important economic consideration for utility-scale installation. Products generated use an integration of remote sensing data, geospatial analysis, and machine learning algorithms to develop a spatially-explicit multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) for solar and wind resources in Texas.

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GEOL2023KELLY63459 GEOL

Spatial Analysis of the Livability of Fort Worth Using Multi-Criteria Decision Making Approaches

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Matt Kelly Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Third Floor, Table 2, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

This study will develop (livable) suitability index for areas within Fort Worth with respect to the availability of various amenities (walkability, parks, etc.), public transport, proximity to fresh produce and entertainment (restaurants, etc.), and other relevant services. This is important as the City of Fort Worth has some of the lowest transit scores compared to major cities across the US especially with those having similar population as Fort Worth. Several spatial analysis techniques including proximity and overlay analysis will be undertaken using tools in ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online to attain the objectives of the study.

(Presentation is private)

GEOL2023NEWELL12096 GEOL

Synthetic Nanomaterials: An Environmental Twist of Fate

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Brooke Newell Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Omar Harvey Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 9, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

As the nature and quantity of new/novel nanomaterials continue to expand to meet industrial, medical, and domestic demands, their accidental or intentional release becomes inevitable. To this end, an evolving understanding of the interaction dynamics between nanomaterials and naturally occurring geomaterials is central to supporting continued sustainable development and use of nanomaterials. The current study explores the chemodynamics of the organic nanomaterial, polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers, binding to (and debinding from) ferrihydrite. Specific focus is placed on how PAMAM size and pH affects the reaction between three carboxyl-terminated PAMAMs (Gx.5-COOH) sorbing/desorbing to/from the variably-charged ferrihydrite (FFH). Since both ferrihydrite and PAMAM exhibit pH-dependent variation of speciation, it is expected that binding/debinding dynamics of differing sizes of PAMAM will vary. Investigating the quantity, rate, and dynamics of these reactions provides insight into the type of bonding occurring (physiosorption, electrostatic bonding, or hydrogen bonding) and the location of bonding (surface versus micropore spaces). The information gained from this study will help to develop a more holistic picture of the environmental fate of synthetic nanomaterials.

(Presentation is private)

GEOL2023NUNEZ28170 GEOL

FOOD INSECURITY: INTEGRATING GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGY TO AID IN SOIL MANAGEMENT IN URBAN AGRICULTURE, FORT WORTH, TEXAS

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Ursula Nunez Geological Sciences Brooke Newell Geological Sciences Benjamin Strang Biology Kimberlee Whitmore Biology
Advisor(s): Essays Gebermichael Geological Sciences Omar Harvey Biology
Location: Third Floor, Table 9, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

In Tarrant County, Texas, food deserts affect approximately 275,000 residents. Chronic health conditions affect households living in food-insecure communities, leading the government to spend billions of dollars treating preventable diseases. Implementing sustainable urban agriculture in areas of high need to produce food using geospatial technology to aid in soil management can play an important role in helping farmers. The objective is to create an urban soil analysis map from the data collected on the soil properties, distribution, and variability of how these properties affect landscapes.

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GEOL2023PASTOR26697 GEOL

The Future of Carbon Emission Disposal

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Ryan Pastor Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: First Floor, Table 3, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

The aim for this project is centered around understanding carbon sequestration and the potential for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) in the United States of America. An in depth look at the CO2 emissions for given areas of the U.S. will be looked at to gain an idea of where localized hotspots for emissions are located and how the impact of these emissions can be reduced using CCUS. By coupling emission data with existing infrastructure data (such as active and abandoned wells, pipelines, storage facilities, etc.) an outlook on the possibility of CCUS and reduction of emissions can be achieved. Geologic formations also play a specific role in how CCUS works. Understanding the various rock formations below and how the injected CO2 will be sealed away deep in the ground is a vital piece for any CCUS project. Combining the geological data with the emissions and infrastructure data will piece together a variety of information to better understand the possibility of reducing carbon emissions in various areas around the United States.

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GEOL2023PASTOR52011 GEOL

Depositional Environment and Reservoir Characteristics of Upper Woodbine Sandstones in Outcrop at Lake Grapevine, Texas

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Ryan Pastor Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Richard Denne Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 4, Position 3, 11:30-1:30

The Middle Cenomanian Woodbine sandstones act as a major reservoir system for many large oil fields throughout East Texas. Although numerous studies have been completed on Woodbine outcrops within DFW Metroplex, none have used modern techniques or tools, or utilized facies model concepts to study their reservoir characteristics or environment of deposition. Prior studies interpreted these outcrops as a shelf-strandplain coastal setting or a fluvial-dominated delta plain. However, this study of Woodbine outcrops along Lake Grapevine identified evidence of significant tidal influence.
The focus of this project was to determine the depositional environment and obtain a better understanding of the reservoir characteristics of the upper Woodbine (Lewisville) sandstones found in outcrop along the southeastern shores of Lake Grapevine in Tarrant County, TX. A detailed study of the lithofacies, ichnofacies, and biofacies, along with handheld spectral gamma ray and permeameter analyses, from 8 measured sections were conducted to identify representative lithofacies. Oversized thin-sections were made to estimate porosity ranges for each lithofacies, and to identify the types and extent of cement in the sandstones. Photomosaics were utilized to delineate sand body geometries by tracing out the lateral extent of the units and identifying significant surfaces and potential fluid barriers or baffles.
Seven lithofacies were distinguished in the outcrops of the study area: Bioclastic, massive bioturbated sandstone, mudstone, heterolithic sandstone and mudstone, crossbedded sandstone, flaser-bedded sandstone, and cemented sandstone. Two of the most common and laterally continuous lithofacies, the massive bioturbated and crossbedded sandstones, also had the best reservoir characteristics, with average porosities of 26% and 27%, and average measured permeabilities of 6,300 mD and 10,700 mD, respectively. The lower permeabilities in the massive bioturbated sandstone are related to clay-rimmed burrows. The bioclastic, mudstone, and cemented sandstone lithofacies are potential barriers to fluid flow, as they all have low porosities (less than 2%) and permeabilities (less than 200 mD).
The data acquired during this study were all consistent with an interpretation of a tidally-influenced estuarine to shallow marine depositional environment for the upper Woodbine in the study area, which differs from previous studies. The high abundance of trace fossils that are commonly found in tidally-influenced depositional systems, including Conichnus/Bergaueria, Cylindrichnus, Planolites, Palaeophycus, Rosselia, Rusophycus, Skolithos, and Thalassinoides, coupled with the presence of heterolithic deposits and common oyster shells led to this interpretation.
This study is the first to analyze outcrops of the Lewisville (upper Woodbine) sandstones in their type area specifically for their reservoir characteristics, and to document tidal influences during deposition. Considering the considerable volumes of hydrocarbons that have been produced from the Woodbine in the adjacent East Texas Basin, this study could provide valuable data for building reservoir models of upper Woodbine sandstones for both hydrocarbon production and potential CO2 sequestration.

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GEOL2023PERKEY45097 GEOL

Analyzing the Change in Crop Yields Following Recent Drought in Texas

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Caleb Perkey Geological Sciences Bradley Roe Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 2, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

This research will examine the change in size of local aquifers in Texas to determine how drought affects crop yield in Texas, for the aquifers scattered about Texas are the major source of irrigation for farmers in the state. This will be demonstrated by assessing conditions in the San Antonio area (as a case study) due to the severe drought that has affected the area for the past couple of months. Several spatial datasets including remote sensing datasets and results derived using different analysis tools in GIS will be utilized to demonstrate the change in aquifer size and volume during the investigated period.

(Presentation is private)

GEOL2023PITTENGER37149 GEOL

The classification of three unknown meteorites from Northwest Africa

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Liam Pittenger Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Rhiannon Mayne Environmental Sciences
Location: Third Floor, Table 3, Position 3, 11:30-1:30

More meteorites are found in North-West Africa every year than in any other location on the earth’s surface. These meteorites are sold and will either enter a scientific collection, or that of a private collector. In the latter case, a meteorite may never be officially classified, which means that it is not recognized by the scientific community as a new meteorite find.. The meteorite classification process is led by the Meteoritical Society, who nominate meteorite researchers to serve on the Meteorite Nomenclature Committee. This committee is responsible for the peer review of all meteorite classification submissions, and to ensure the donation of a scientific repository sample. After this, an official name is assigned and the meteorite is entered into the Meteoritical Bulletin Database (MetBull). MetBull is an archive of all meteorites recognized by the Meteoritical Society and contains basic information about each meteorite; for example, its classification, the location it was found, and a brief description of the sample studied.

The Monnig Meteorite Collection at TCU contains a number of unclassified meteorite samples. In this study, we will examine three unknown meteorites and determine the meteorite type in terms of: (1) the type of body they come from, (2) the minerals and textures they contain, (3) their mineral compositions and, (4) their thermal history. This data will then be submitted to the Meteorite Nomenclature Committee for official classification.

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ENSC2022MUGISHA30720 GEOL

Spatial-temporal Analysis of Forest Cover and Carbon Capture Potential

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jesse Mugisha Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 5, Position 3, 11:30-1:30

Excessive greenhouse gas emissions that result from unregulated energy exploitation contribute to climate change and air pollution. One way to restore the carbon balance within the earth’s systems is to increase carbon inputs by capturing atmospheric carbon and storing it in stable reservoirs, also known as Carbon Sequestration. Using the process of photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it to organic carbon that is relatively more stable than gaseous carbon. The ability to sequester carbon varies across different vegetation species and the environments in which they grow. Using ArcGIS tools and free-access remote sensing data, this study will survey the spatial distribution of plant biomass and their effective carbon storage capacity in a case study located in Africa. The results from this study will i) identify facilities with the most effective carbon sequestration potential ii) help conservation programs in making landscaping decisions for future urban developments.

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GEOL2022BURDEN8814 GEOL

Using Clinopyroxene Chemistry to Constrain Magma Plumbing Systems in a 1.2 Ga Andesitic to Shoshonitic Volcanic Arc, Barby Formation, Namibia

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Lauren Burden Geological Sciences Richard Hanson Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Richard Hanson Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 6, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

The 1.2 Ga Barby Formation located in SW Namibia is comprised of basaltic andesites and shoshonites from oblique subduction in a volcanic arc setting. Recent mapping and whole-rock geochemistry within the Barby Formation has been completed by previous TCU graduate students. Clinopyroxenes (CPX) from samples collected during these studies were analyzed using an Electron Microprobe (EMP) at Fayetteville State University, North Carolina. Data collected from CPX phenocrysts corresponds with previous findings that the samples can be divided into two groups. Group 1 samples show an enrichment in rare earth elements (REE) and light rare earth elements (LREE) Th, Zr, La/Yb, Nb, with a smaller Ti anomaly as compared to Group 2 (Lehman, 2019; Orhmundt, 2020). CPX phenocrysts within Group 1 have higher TiO2 wt% concentrations. Differences between the two groups are attributed to different source rock compositions and partial melting (Lehman, 2019; Orhmundt, 2020). Mineral compositions and cation ratios from EPMA data were also used to determine geothermobarometric conditions of the formation’s magma plumbing system. Single-clinopyroxene thermometry and barometry equations from Wang et al. (2021) and Purtika (2008) were utilized in this study. Wang et al. (2021) calculations resulted with average pressures between 1-3 ± 1.5 kbar and average temperatures between 1100-1200 °C. Purtika (2008) calculations resulted with overall higher pressures averaging at 3-5 kbar and slightly hotter temperatures at 1200 ± 50°C. Overall temperatures are higher than what would be expected in the basaltic andesitic system and variations could be due to the low-grade metamorphism the area has experienced that has affected the geochemistry.

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