Two PhD positions UT Austin

The Geological Porous Media Group has a two funded PhD positions starting in the summer/fall 2019 at the University of Texas in Austin. Please contact Marc Hesse by email: For details see: 

The first position will develop models for the hydrothermal evolution of asteroids to determine: (1) heating and cooling histories and mechanisms, (2) influence of breakup and reassembly and it’s on asteroid evolution, (3) partial melting and differentiation, (4) conditions and mechanisms of crustal formation. The motivation for this study are recent petrologic observations suggesting that the LL chondrite parent body cooled at a rate >1C/y from a temperature of 950C, implying that it was catastrophically fragmented and quenched from its peak metamorphic temperature. This project is part of a collaboration that will apply new thermometers to constrain the high-temperature evolution chondritic and achondritic meteorite parent bodies.

The second position will develop models for multiphase flow in ductile rocks starting in the summer/fall 2019. The aim of this project is to develop a continuum model for the percolation of two pore-fluids in a viscously deforming porous matrix and numerical methods for its solution. The motivation for this research is the observation that both brine and hydrocarbons can penetrate into the base of sedimentary salt deposits at greater depth. Although salt is generally considered impermeable, it is ductile and may dilate to allow the invasion of over-pressured fluids. Episodic fluid migration through salt may explain some of the dramatic variations in sub-salt pore pressure, which pose a significant operational hazard in hydrocarbon exploration. This project will develop a three-phase flow model for the salt-brine-hydrocarbon system to understand the conditions conducive to fluid invasion and the magnitude of the resulting fluid fluxes. Beyond the immediate application to fluid percolation in salt, such three-phase flows may occur in temperate glaciers, during melt migration, and planetary differentiation.