Go to USC home page USC Logo Department of Geological Sciences
  Home    | Department Directory | News & Events | Local Links | Resources



Undergraduate Program

Graduate Program

Areas of Research

Research Facilities

Course Materials Online

Alumni Information

Job Opportunities


Research Areas  
The Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences has chosen to strengthen our department by adopting three primary research areas: Evolution of Orogenic Systems, Environmental Geosciences, and Global Climate Change.   Within these umbrella designations, our research and teaching encompasses the traditional subdisciplines found in most geoscience departments. These research areas are listed below and are cross linked to the faculty members associated with them. The department is replete with modern hardware and software to work in these disciplines.

Basin Evolution, Sedimentary Petrology, Stratigraphy and Sequence Stratigraphy

Studies of modern and ancient marine and terrestrial sediments to determine the processes that control the temporal and spatial distribution of different sediment types, their provenance, erosion, transport and deposition. These include studies of depositional setting, eustasy, tectonics, climate and biology. Faculty

Dynamics of Ocean and Atmosphere
Studies of physical processes which govern motions in the ocean and atmosphere, especially on larger scales when the Earth’s rotation becomes important. This research includes theory, numerical modeling, and the observational data analysis.

Earth Science Education
Implementation and evaluation of introductory-level, undergraduate and graduate major, and teacher-education courses.

Economic Geology and Fossil Fuels
Research areas include conceptual and numerical schemes developed to improve exploration and exploitation of petroleum, coal, and metallic ores. Emphasis areas include the depositional environment and the preservation of the fossil fuels, and their detection and exploitation using data from recent settings, outcrops, wells, seismic, gravity and magnetics. Included in this research are methods for the protection and amelioration of the environment associated with exploration and exploitation.

Research covers all aspects of geochemistry, including low temperature and environmental geochemistry, stable isotope and U-series isotope geochemistry, high temperature crust and mantle geochemistry, planetary geochemistry, and organic geochemistry.

Geomorphology , Surface Processes and Sedimentation
Studies of sediments in marine and terrestrial settings to determine the processes that control the distribution of different sediment types, erosion, transport and deposition and relationship to landforms. Faculty

Geophysics and Seismology
Research includes the collection, analysis, and interpretation of seismic, geodetic, electrical, magnetic and gravity data. Funded research projects include: large-scale lithospheric studies using active and passive seismic, GPS geodesy, and potential field data; petroleum exploration projects using 3-D industrial seismic data; studies of reservoir-induced seismicity; earthquake and environmental hazards analysis and seismic research contribution to monitoring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  The Seismology Program is described on a separate page.

USC has one of the most active seismological field programs in the country. Projects spanning the globe focus on: lithospheric process investigations using active and passive seismological studies; processes of intraplate and induced seismicity; seismological problems of South Carolina; and seismological issues in monitoring and verifying a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. USC hosts the South Carolina Seismic Network and has an active program in monitoring the state and studying prehistoric seismicity and paleoliquefaction features in the southeast. Faculty

Hard Rock Petrology
We are active in the study of the origin and metamorphic and igneous rocks to determine their origin in active tectonic provinces.  Faculty

In this cross-disciplinary science we investigates the temporal and spatial variability of processes which control sediment and water fluxes in surface and near-surface systems in terrestrial and coastal settings. We combine field, laboratory and theoretical studies designed to quanitatively define transport laws and how land utilization and land management practice affect fluxes and how those affects propogate through natural systems.

Oceanography, Coastal and Estuarine Processes
Study of the geology, physics, chemistry, and biology of the marine environment. Areas of current research include: geophysical fluid dynamics and fluxes, sediment dynamics, marine turbulence, physical properties of sea water, influx of terrestrial waters into the marine environment, ocean and coastal currents, estuarine dynamics, air-sea interaction, waves, and tides.

Satellite Oceanography
Observations of the sea surface using satellites now provide researchers with information about the oceans' impact on our environment, climate change and weather forecasting. Satellite sensors observe the sea's surface, measuring many properties that include temperature, color and changes in height. These data reveal information about circulation, storms and the biology of the oceans

Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Studies of ancient climate change using a variety of biotic and geochemical proxies preserved in marine, lacustrine and terrestrial records.

Paleontology and Paleoecology
Research into the relationships of fossilized organisms to their environments, both as individuals and in the natural communities in which they occur. The study of fossils, which are the preserved remains of former life on earth, is used to reconstruct paleoenvironmental conditions and to examine evolutionary processes.

Petroleum Geology
Research into sedimentary, stratigraphic, structural and geochemical relationships with the occurence of petroleum. These studies include those of seismic and sequence stratigraphy, biostratigraphic markers, organic productivity, source rocks, and acoustic, magnetic and gravitational geophysics. Faculty.

Tectonics and Structural Geology
Our expertise in tectonic problems extends from using satellite geodesy for understanding large scale plate motions to extracting the tectonic implications of small-scale fold and fracture features. Seismic imaging to depths of 700km in active tectonic provinces and sedimentary basins adds a third dimension to these studies. Faculty

Table of the various research areas and the faculty that work in them.



Basin Evolution, Sedimentary Petrology, Stratigraphy and Sequence Stratigraphy Barbeau,Thunell, Torres Wilson
Dynamics of Ocean and Atmosphere Yankovsky
Earth Science Education  
Economic Geology and Fossil Fuels Kellogg , J. Knapp
Hydrogeology LakshmiTorres, Voulgaris, Wilson, Yankovsky
Geochemistry Benitez-Nelson , Bizimis, Cohen, John, Scher, Thunell, Wilson, Yogodzinski
Geomorphology , Surface Processes, Sedimentation LakshmiTorres, Voulgaris, White, Yankovsky
Geophysics and Seismology Kellogg , Kendall, C.  Knapp, J. Knapp, Owens, White
Hard Rock Petrology Bizimis, Yogodzinski
Oceanography , Coastal and Estuarine Processes Benitez-Nelson , Bulusu, John, Scher, Thunell, Voulgaris, White, Wilson, Yankovsky
Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Scher, Thunell
Paleoecology and Paleontology Thunell
Petroleum Geology Kellogg , C.  Knapp, J. Knapp
Satellite Oceanography Bulusu
Tectonics and Structural Geology Barbeau, Kellogg , C.  Knapp, J. KnappOwens, White

Return to Top of Page

Last Updated  July, 2010 by tappa@geol.sc.edu
Copyright © 1995-2010, the University of South Carolina.