SMU Geothermal Lab

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Dr. Matthew Hornbach, Associate Professor 

Dr. Dave Blackwell, Professor Emeritus 


Maria Richards, Geothermal Lab Coordinator
Maria Richard's resume

Cathy Chickering Pace, Project Specialist

Christine Ferguson, Outreach Coordinator

Graduate Students 

Andrés Ruzo
Ph.D. Candidate in Geophysics

Andrés Ruzo holds degrees from SMU in Geology (BSc) and Finance (BBA), and is currently working on a PhD in Geophysics. He has a wide range of research interests including heat flow, geophysics, volcanology, geothermal system geochemistry, as well as geothermal extremophile life forms. Andrés is passionate about developing geothermal resources in Latin America, and his PhD research has primarily focused on developing the Geothermal Map of Peru, understanding the Peruvian Volcanic Gap, and most notably investigating the Boiling River of the Amazon, a sacred indigenous site that Andrés first heard of in a childhood legend. Andrés is also deeply involved in science communication and the promotion of geothermal and science education. He is a National Geographic Explorer, has been featured in the National Geographic Magazine, numerous educational publications, and was featured on international television as the BMW Explorer for his outreach work on geothermal energy.  His research has earned him grants, recognitions, and support, from a number of groups including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Telios Corporation, Greenpeace, and others. He has also spoken at 3 TEDx events, and will be presenting part of his dissertation research on the Boiling River of the Amazon at TED Global 2014.

Nicole Sica
Masters Candidate in Geophysics

Nicole Sica graduated from University of Texas at Dallas and is currently working on a Masters degree. She is interested in geothermal energy for the bridge that it creates with the Oil and Gas industries as a means to transition to a clean, continual alternative energy resource. Nicole was attracted to SMU’s connections to both industry and academia.

Joe Batir
Ph.D. Candidate in Geophysics

Joe Batir is a Ph.D. Candidate studying the heat flow and tectonics of Alaska. He has made a new edition of the Heat Flow Map of Alaska and has calculated Temperature-at-Depth curves for the major population centers, and will be modeling the tectonics of Southeast Alaska to explain the anomalous heat flow pattern observed in that region as a portion of his dissertation.  Previous projects Joe has worked on include heat flow of the Eastern United States, thermal modeling of the Snake River Plain, stress field analysis using Borehole Televiewer, and the use of Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) in Archeological applications.  Joe’s skills include heat flow data collection, mapping, numerical modeling, well log analysis, and GPR processing and interpretation.  Joe’s research interests include remote location and off-grid energy production, coproduction, and low-temperature resource utilization methods.

Casey Brokaw
Masters Candidate in Geophysics

Casey Brokaw has a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from SMU and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Geophysics from Southern Methodist University. His Master’s research is in the thermal maturation processes of the oil and gas producing Denver Basin. Research interests are understanding geothermal processes and how they can be applied to help tackle America’s energy demands.

Mert Bolat
Masters Candidate in Applied Geophysics

Rahmi Mert Bolat is a M.S. student at Southern Methodist University majoring in Geophysics. For his undergraduate degree, he completed double majors in geology and geophysics from Istanbul University, Turkey. He obtained a scholarship from Turkish Petroleum Corporation, and currently pursues a Master’s degree focused on 3D heat flow and geophysical analysis of the Northern Appalachian Basin.

Ann Moulding

Ph.D. Candidate in Geophysics at the University of Texas, Dallas

Previous Students

See a list of recent PhD Dissertations and MS Theses here.