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Economic Resources / Stratigraphic Sciences / Paleontology

Our interest group is engaged in a range of interesting research programs in petroleum geology, reservoir geology and geophysics, sedimentology and diagenesis, sequence stratigraphy, sedimentary paleoenvironments, basin analysis, paleoecology, and vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology. The programs are directed by faculty in Geological Sciences and the CU Museum. We have strong ties to faculty and research associates in EMARC, CIRES, and INSTAAR. Faculty also collaborate with key scientists at other universities and with various petroleum companies.

Research Programs

Research in petroleum reservoir geology and geophysics is focused on the characterization and modeling of sequence-stratigraphic and structural controls on reservoir properties within carbonate and clastic systems. Outcrop and subsurface studies have focused on Cretaceous strata in Colorado and Mississippian outcrop analogs in Wyoming. (Reservoir Characterization and Modeling Laboratory - RCML).

Integrated studies in basin analysis have focused on stratigraphic (intraslope basins), structural (salt, foldbelts) and petroleum systems modeling of the upper Cenozoic strata of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Research utilizes extensive 2-D and 3-D seismic and well data. New projects include: (a) 3-D studies of the shallow sediments in intraslope basins, offshore Nigeria, as analogs for deeper producing reservoirs; (b) 3-D interpretation and field study of the Red Wing Creek field in North Dakota- meteorite impact feature, and (c) integrated studies of select Rocky Mountain basins.

In sedimentology, studies of siliciclastic sediments have focused on fluvial and other continental paleoenvironments of Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, and on paleoclimate and paleolandscape reconstructions based on alluvial paleosols. Carbonate studies have included sequence stratigraphy, diagenesis, and reservoir heterogeneities in late Paleozoic rocks of the Rocky Mountain region; rock-water interaction in regional freshwater aquifers and carbonate islands; the evolution of matrix permeability with progressive burial; the role of matrix permeability in Cenozoic carbonate aquifers; and self-organizing processes in dolomitization. Three faculty (Chin, Eberle, and Smith) with expertise in paleoecology, vertebrate paleontology, and invertebrate paleontology are curators in the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, and maintain their primary offices and laboratories in the Museum's Bruce Curtis Building (or MCOL). Studies on fossil mammals focus on specimens from the late Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras (roughly the last 70 my) - specifically their systematics, biostratigraphy, and stable isotope geochemistry of their teeth. This research addresses broader questions concerning origin and evolution of
mammalian lineages, paleobiogeography, paleoclimate, and the geochronology of geologic and evolutionary events in Earth history. Field areas include the Rocky Mountain region (especially Colorado's Denver Basin and Western Slope) and the Canadian High Arctic.

Research in paleontology also includes analyses of the structure and dynamics of ancient ecosystems--particularly those of the Mesozoic Era. Many projects focus on tapping paleobiological and taphonomic information in permineralized coprolites (fossil feces), fossil burrows, and wood. These investigations utilize physical and chemical evidence that provide information on paleoenvironmental conditions and interactions among ancient organisms.

Department Faculty

Economic Resources / Stratigraphic Sciences

David Budd
Sedimentology, diagenesis, and geochemistry of carbonates applied to rock-water interaction and the evolution of pore systems in subsurface reservoirs


(303) 492-3988
Katie Snell
Paleoclimate, Tectonics, Sedimentology, Stable Isotope Geochemistry


(303) 492-1461
Paul Weimer
Director, Energy and Minerals Applied Research Center: and Interactive Geology Project.
Sequence stratigraphy and basin analysis, 3-D seismic interpretation, reservoir geology, petroleum systems of deep-water continental margins, animations for geologic outreach


(303) 492-3809


Karen Chin
Mesozoic paleontology, trace fossil analysis, taphonomy


(303) 735-3074
Jaelyn Eberle
Vertebrate Paleontology, Late Cretaceous and early Tertiary mammalian biostratigraphy, phylogenetics, and evolution in the Rocky Mountain region; Paleogene High Arctic vertebrate evolution, paleobiogeography, and paleoclimate


(303) 492-8069

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Economic Resources / Stratigraphic Sciences / Paleontology | Geodynamics/Geophysics/Geochemistry/Mineral Physics/Petrology
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Geological Sciences
University of Colorado Boulder
UCB 399
Boulder, CO 80309-0399