The Sediment Mechanics Lab studies modern and ancient fine grained sedimentary systems. Among those fall marine sediments acquired through the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and its predecessors as well as unconventional shale gas/oil formations. Their goal is to develop a detailed understanding of subsurface geomechanical processes and the interrelationships between particles, organisms, and pore fluid through burial and on various scales (from pore to basin scale). This understanding is relevant for the prediction of subsurface pressures/stresses, submarine slope stability, and hydrocarbon production from low permeable formations. The Sediment Mechanics Lab uses field samples and data and employs a suite of laboratory experiments (sedimentological, geotechnical, petrological, and geomicrobiological) and micro-scale imaging techniques to explore their science goals. Current study areas include the Midland Basin in West Texas, Gulf of Mexico, and Nankai Trough offshore Japan.
Dr. Julia Reece is the Principal Investigator of the lab. She holds a BS and MS from the University of Bremen in Germany and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.