The University of Texas at Austin

Jay L. Banner

    Professor, Department of Geological Sciences
                      Jackson School of Geosciences
    Director, Environmental Science Institute
    University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712
    Phone: 512-471-5016 (Fax 9425)


Research   Interests I Group I Projects I Publications I Research Experiences for Undergraduates I Related programs I The Jackson School of Geosciences

Outreach   Hot Science - Cool Talks Outreach Series I GK-12 Program I Caves: A Window into the Edwards Aquifer
Classes   Signature Course: Sustaining a Planet (UGS303) I  Field Seminar in Environmental and Sustainability (EVS311) I Professional Development Seminar (EVS 141) I
                        Sedimentary Rocks (GEO416M) I Environmental Isotope Geochemistry (GEO388H/376E) I Field Methods (GEO660)
Links         UT Direct I Blackboard I UT Libraries  

Jay Banner's research and teaching interests center on Earth surface processes, including climate and hydrologic processes, how they are preserved in the geologic record, and how human activity affects the sustainability of water resources.  These subjects are explored using a range of approaches that include field studies, petrography, isotope geochemistry, and  modeling.  Examples of research projects using these approaches are studies of cave deposits (speleothems) as records of the links between climate change and hydrology, studies of carbonate rocks as records of the chemistry of ancient oceans, and studies of modern aquifers and watersheds in urbanizing environments. These projects are detailed below.

Jay Banner's research group includes graduate students Corinne Wong, Jonathan Snatic, Richard Casteel, Jeff Senison, Peter Carlson, and Rosemary Hatch; undergraduate students Nathan van Oort, Barbara Wortham, Mark Moore, Emma Heitmann, and Paige Lambert; and Research Associate Eric James. Faculty and research scientist collaborators at UT include Jack Sharp, Nathan Miller, Staci Loewy, Alison Kolesar, Liang Yang, Charles Jackson, Bayani Cardenas, Jud Partin, Terry Quinn, Fred Taylor, Christine Hawkes, and Dan Breecker. Research collaborators at other institutions include Isabel Montanez (UC Davis), John Mylroie (Miss. State), John Jenson (Univ. Guam), Larry Edwards (Univ. Minnesota), Libby Stern (FBI), Kathleen Johnson (UC Irvine), John Valley (Univ. Wisconsin) and Malcolm Cleaveland (Univ. Arkansas).

Our group investigates three main research areas, described below.

Paleoclimate and Paleohydrology
Speleothems are cave calcite deposits that are geographically widespread and contain key information about past hydrologic, geomorphic and climate conditions. Records of past conditions are being reconstructed through studies of speleothems and tree rings in Texas, and through studies of speleothems in the Western Pacific region, the Bahamas, and Barbados. One emphasis of this research is the rigorous assessment of ancient signals recorded by speleothems through monitoring experiments in active caves. This research is supported by NSF and the Water and Environmental Research Institute of the University of Guam.

Bull CkHydrogeology
The processes of groundwater and surface water evolution, flow paths, and impacts of urbanization are investigated using stable and radiogenic isotopes and trace elements. This approach is applied to the Edwards aquifer of Texas, the midcontinent USA, the Pleistocene aquifer of Barbados, and central Texas watersheds. Temporal changes in these processes are investigated through geochemical analysis of tree-rings and travertine growth layers. This research is supported by NSF and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.




Ancient ocean chemistry
Reconstructing the chemistry of ancient oceans using marine carbonate rocks is applied to examining past changes in Earth surface processes and chemical stratigraphic correlation. Essential to the successful analysis of such ancient sedimentary sequences is establishing criteria for identifying least-altered samples through petrographic, stratigraphic, and geochemical means. These studies have been conducted in the Mississippian of the midcontinent, Cambrian of the Great Basin, and Devonian of Western Australia, and have been supported by NSF and ACS.



Publications on these projects can be found at, other educational materials on these projects can be found at


Isotope Clean Lab    Mass spectrometers  Lab Manager: Dr. Staci Loewy     



RELATED RESEARCH PROGRAMS in the Department of Geological Sciences at UT Austin:

Isotope Geochemistry Program          Hydrogeology Program         Sedimentary Geology Program