The Carl Heiland Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Geophysics at Colorado School of Mines, is given each week by a distinguished speaker from academia, industry, or government on a topic pertinent to the geosciences. The lecture series is a public event open to all members of the Mines community and beyond.

Unless otherwise noted, lectures take place 4 p.m. Wednesdays in Coolbaugh Hall (CO) 209.

Fall 2018 Schedule

August 29, 2018

 “The Need for 3D Geologic Mapping and the Importance and Challenges
of a Multi-Disciplinary Approach: Case History from the Rio Grande
Rift near Taos, NM”

Dr. V.J.S. (Tien) Grauch, U.S. Geological Survey, Golden, CO

The need for 3D geologic mapping, or geologic framework models that extend from surface geologic mapping into the subsurface, is a common staple of the exploration industry, but also has been steadily growing in the government sector. Government organizations from around the world, including U.S. Federal and State geological surveys, are increasingly recognizing the value of 3D geologic maps as the underpinning for making decisions regarding natural resources, natural hazards, infrastructure planning, and environmental stewardship. Multi-disciplinary geophysics, integrated with geologic information from surface mapping and drillholes, is critical for developing the subsurface component of 3D geologic maps. Each geoscientific discipline provides a different perspective on diverse aspects of the subsurface geology that must be integrated to understand the whole picture. This integration can be challenging, requiring reconciliation of apparently conflicting information, questioning of previously established results, and outside-the-box thinking to find models that are supported and/or permitted by all data sets. A case history from Rio Grande Rift near Taos, NM illustrates the value and challenges of integrating diverse geophysical and geologic information in developing a 3D geologic model for understanding the regional groundwater system.

September 5, 2018

“Making Decisions with Imperfect Data: Implications for Research, Gravity and Magnetics,
and Inversion”

Dr. Ed Biegert, Houston, TX

Dr. Biegert recently retired after 40 years with Shell Exploration and Research, where he led the non-seismic research program.  He is a principal technical expert for non-seismic geophysics, including Operations, Surveys, Interpretations, Gravity, Magnetics, EM, MT, Radar, and Remote Sensing.

Before Shell, he crashed the Space Shuttle on purpose and taught the astronauts how to fly it.  Ask him about that experience!

September 12, 2018

“The Oceans: The Last Frontier for Terrestrial Seismology”

Dr. Guust Nolet, Princeton University & Université de la Côte d’Azur

Though more than 11,000 seismic stations report their data to the ISC, less than 500 of them are located in the open ocean.  Given that the oceans cover almost 2/3 of the Earth’s surface, this unequal sensor distribution causes severe problems for seismometry, not in the least for our efforts to image the Earth’s interior and understand the processes operating in the deep mantle.

In this talk I shall review the recent development of floating seismographs (MERMAIDS), show their performance in an experiment aimed at imaging the Galapagos mantle plume, and discuss their potential for the future, not only for geophysics and oceanography, but also for multidisciplinary monitoring efforts in the oceans that may serve biology, meteorology and geochemistry.

September 19, 2018

No Lecture Scheduled


September 26, 2018

“Concrete and Concrete-Like Rocks: Engineered by Humans, Inspired by Nature?”

Dr. Tiziana Vanorio, Stanford Rock Physics Laboratory

Ancient concrete would seem to have little to do with volcano geophysics.  This presentation shows that the cementation of the caprock of a caldera in Southern Italy and cores of Roman-era concrete for which the region was known, require a similar set of chemical reactions to provide an intertwined sulfur-rich fibrous matrix being responsible for high ductiIity, strength, and Iow permeabiIity. While abundance in sulfur is expected in a caldera, its presence in both the matrix and lime of Roman concrete raises the question of the source.  By leveraging knowledge across geophysics, engineering and ancient literature we suggest that the lime-producing rock is cal-alkaline volcanic rock from the region rather than a typical carbonate rock.

The scientific relevance of the similarities between these two geomaterials is threefold: first, it helps explain the ability of the caldera to withstand periods of high-rate uplift and relatively low seismic efficiency; second, it unravels a chemical process that the ancient Romans may have unwittingly exploited while inspired by Earth processes from the manufacturing region; third, the use of a sulfurous, calc-alkaline rock resonates with the current knowledge in the Engineering showing that sulfur plays a critical role as a polymer and binding element in geomaterials.

Join us for a reception in the GRL Conference Room immediately following this lecture.

October 3, 2018

No Lecture Scheduled


October 10, 2018

“Using Geophysical Tools to Characterize Pore Structure
and Flow Properties in Carbonate Rocks”

Dr. Chi Zhang, University of Kansas

The complex behavior and coupled dynamics of water and energy systems require highly integrated and innovative research strategy (sensing technology, data processing techniques, and new scalable and adaptable model) to enhance the understanding of the tightly coupled physical, chemical, and biological processes that govern the behavior of geologic media and their constituent fluids (water, brine, CO2, and hydrocarbons) from the micro- to macro-scale.  My research jointly utilizes hydrogeological, geophysical, and biogeochemical information, coupling with theoretical and numerical simulations to accurately describe the subsurface and to monitor physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring within it.

In this talk, I will provide an overview of my research on characterizing pore attributes and fluid flow properties in the subsurface and the relevant applications to water, energy, and environment.  I will describe how to estimate porosity, pore size distribution, surface area, and permeability in complex carbonate rocks from electrical geophysical measurements and nuclear magnetic resonance fro pore to field scale.  The laboratory measurements are coupled with μCT imaging and physics-based numerical simulations of pore attributes and geophysical responses to quantify petrophysical properties during various geological processes including physical and biogeochemical alternations.  The ultimate goal of my research is to facilitate the application of geophysical techniques in critical hydrogeological and energy investigations across multiple scales.  For more information, please visit

Join us for a reception in the GRL Annex immediately preceding this lecture.

October 17, 2018

No Lecture Scheduled


October 24, 2018

“Planetary Seismology: Prospects for a
New Golden Age on Mars, Icy Ocean Worlds”

Dr. Park Panning, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cal Tech

InSight will be landing on Mars on November 26 this year, and soon after delivering the first new planetary seismic data since Apollo and Viking data from the 1970s.  Meanwhile, proposed missions to Europa and Titan also include seismic instruments.  Planetary seismology is the best way to get precise knowledge of the interior of other planetary bodies, but the challenges of doing seismology on other moons and planets are often very different than for doing seismology on Earth.  Single station techniques are vital for work on Mars, while the types of seismic signals to be found on icy ocean worlds are different than what terrestrial seismologists are used to.  We’ll talk about prospects for future seismology beyond these launched and proposed mission as well.

Join us for a reception in the GRL Annex immediately preceding this lecture.

October 31, 2018

Student Heilands

Starting this fall, the Department faculty will nominate three graduate students to make presentations about their current research, that would be of interest to the Department and to the greater geoscience community.  Those students will give their presentations, followed by a short question-and-answer period.

This series of talks will be followed by a Post-Heiland Reception in the GRL Conference Room, near the Mines Geology Museum.

“Fluid Flow Coupled Inversion of Time-Lapse Gravity Data
for Reservoir Properties”
Joe Capriotti, PhD Candidate

Understanding reservoir properties plays a key role in managing a reservoir’s resources and optimizing production. History matching is an important means to characterizing those properties. We develop a method to invert for the distribution of permeability and porosity directly from time-lapse gravity data. In this process, we use fluid-flow in porous medium coupled with forward modeling of the time-lapse gravity response as the forward operator, and then solve a non-linear inversion to reconstruct the property distributions in the reservoir. The inversion can combine the information from time-lapse gravity and injection-production data sets to determine a static state of the reservoir described by permeability and porosity. The resulting model satisfies all data sets simultaneously while obeying the mechanics of fluid flow through porous medium.

“Reservoir Transport and Poroelastic Properties from
Oscillating Pore Pressure Experiments”
Azar Hasanov, PhD Candidate

Knowledge of hydraulic and poroelastic properties is essential for simulating fluid flow and deformation in porous media.  Accurate simulations are used to estimate production volumes, rates, and economics.  In this study we document the value of the oscillating pore pressure experiment for simultaneously determining hydraulic and poroelastic properties of porous materials.  We completed experiments on four conventional reservoir rock quality samples at a range of oscillation frequencies (0.001 – 1 Hz) and effective stresses (3.5 – 65 MPa).  We document that hydraulically measured storage capacities are overestimated by approximately one order of magnitude when compared to elastically derived ones.  Comparison of the Biot coefficient estimated both from hydraulic and strain data reveals the ambiguity of the storage capacity measurements.  We also introduce a novel method, which allowed us to estimate the permeability from the full range of frequency data using a nonlinear least-squares regression.  Numerical simulations of the oscillatory fluid flow confirms the processes driving the experimental results.

“3D Waveform Inversion of Microseismic Data in VTI Media
Oscar Jarillo Michel, PhD Candidate

Waveform inversion (WI) can be used to solve two of the main problems in microseismic monitoring, event location, and velocity determination.  The advantage of this approach lies in the opportunity to employ the phase and amplitude information contained in the seismograms.  In this talk, I will briefly review a 3D methodology for multiparameter estimation from borehole data in VTI media, and illustrate it with a few synthetic examples.  I will also show preliminary results of applying this 3D methodology to a field data set, including data preparation and gradient calculation using adjoint tomography.

November 7, 2018

“Seismic Full Waveform Inversion for
Fundamental Scientific and Industrial Problems”

Dr. Satish Singh, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France

Seismic waveform inversion is a powerful method used to quantify the elastic property of the subsurface. Although the development of seismic waveform inversion started in the early 1980s and was applied to solve scientific problems, it became popular in industry only about 15 years ago. One of the key elements in the success of seismic waveform inversion has been the increase of the acquisition of long offset seismic data from 3 km in the early 1990s to more than 15 km today. Not only did long offset data provide refraction arrivals, but it also allowed recording of wide-angle reflections, including critical angles, providing unique information about the subsurface geology.

In this talk, I will elaborate on the early development of the seismic full waveform inversion (FWI) and its application to solve fundamental scientific problems. The first big success of FWI was its application to gas hydrate reflections, also known as bottom simulating reflection (BSR), which showed that the BSRs are mainly due the presence of a small amount of free methane gas, not a large amount of hydrates stored above the BSR, and hence the total amount of methane stored in marine sediments should be much less than previously estimated. A second major success of FWI was its application to quantify the characteristics of the axial melt lens observed beneath ocean spreading centers. The seismic full waveform inversion results show that one can distinguish between pure melt and partially molten mush within a 50 m thick melt lens, allowing to link the melt delivery from the mantle with the hydrothermal circulation on the seafloor. The application of full waveform inversion to spreading center problems has become an important area of research.

Join us for a reception in the GRL Annex immediately preceding this lecture.

November 13, 2018

“An Unconventional View of Geoscience”

David Gray, Senior Geophysical Advisor, CNOOC International
2018-2019 CSEG Distinguished Lecturer

The world needs geoscientists. The American Geoscience Institute predicted a need for about 10% more geoscientists in 2024 relative to 2014, but this was before industry layoffs (Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2016). The number of layoffs and workforce demographics likely means a greater need for geoscientists to do the work that will be required. Resulting jobs will be spread across all industries, including: scientific services, mining, oil and gas, agriculture, education, government, etc.

In the western world, industries that traditionally employ geoscientists are being criticized for their practices. You can address these issues by promoting the value of the geoscience you are learning, especially to friends and family. Think outside the box when presented with opportunities to show what geoscience can do. This lecture shows some examples of how to use this unconventional view of geoscience to benefit society, your employers, and your peers. I will give examples of my successful use of unconventional geoscience, including: protection of the environment; creation of new technologies for prediction of fractures, oil reservoir production, and geomechanics; and, effective use of social media. All these employ knowledge and experience gained from my geoscience education and career. Your geoscience education and experience can also be used in your own unconventional ways to enrich society.

November 28, 2018

Stephen Moysey, Professor of Geological Sciences
East Carolina University

Understanding flow and transport in the subsurface is a challenging problem, particularly in complexly structured soils impacted by processes ranging from multiphase flow instabilities to channeling through macropores.  Geophysical imaging methods have long been proposed as tools for investigating these non-uniform flow processes.  By automating data collection for ground-penetrating radar (GPR), we show that we are now able to rapidly collect the massive volumes of data needed for monitoring changes in water content over the course of an individual infiltration event using reflection tomography.  While methods like this or more traditional GPR and resistivity tomography are able to capture gross patterns in flow, they lack the resolution to understand flow processes at the small scale.  By taking a rock physics perspective, however, it is clear that there is information contained in average geophysical measurements taken with limited arrays, such as a single bulk electrical resistivity measurement, which could be used to detect changes in flow mechanisms without the need for imaging at all.  To make such an approach feasible, we are using nuclear imaging techniques (gamma-ray spectroscopy, CT scans, and SPECT imaging) to provide detailed insights into how flow and transport in soil macropores evolves over time to aid in the interpretation f the observed geophysical signals.

December 5, 2018

Dr. John Bradford, Ground-Penetrating Radar from Archaeological Studies – From the New World to the Old

Abstract: Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a well-established method for archaeological investigation.  In some cases, the impact goes well beyond the historical information or scientific insight that GPR can provide.  I will illustrate this broader impact through two different types of studies.  First, I will describe the mapping of unmarked graves, with a focus on a 19th century Chinese cemetery located in Hailey, Idaho.  Thousands of Chinese immigrants traveled to Idaho during the gold mining boom in the latter half of the 19th century.  In the former mining town of Hailey, a separate section of the cemetery was established to accommodate Chinese laborers.  In the 1930’s, a fire destroyed the wooden grave markers in the Chinese section of the cemetery.  As part of an effort to establish a memorial recognizing the contributions of these workers, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey was commissioned in 2009 to identify the graves so that permanent markers could be placed.  The GPR survey identified 120 unmarked graves in the Chinese section of the cemetery.  Efforts are underway to place markers on these gravesites and to raise funds for a permanent memorial to the Chinese laborers.  The second study is in support of a traditional archaeological investigation known as the Libarna Urban Landscapes Project (LULP).  LULP is using non-invasive techniques to identify buried structures in the Roman city of Libarna, Piedmont, Italy.  In particular, we are combining GPR and drone photography to map the buried remains of the city.  GPR has imaged numerous structures that are likely of Roman origin and uncovered some mysterious features that have yet to be explained.  These data will be used to develop an excavation plan for future field work.  The nearby Italian village of Arquata Scrivia is hoping that publicity about the site will bring tourists to revive its sagging economy.

Please join us for a Reception following the Lecture in the Geology Museum RL 201.


Debra Marrufo
(303) 273-3451


Ebru Bozdag

The Heiland Lectures are made possible thanks to our generous industry sponsors.

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Past Lectures

Spring 2019 Schedule

January 16, 2019
January 23, 2019

Jared Peacock, U.S. Geological Survey

January 30, 2019

Danica Roth / University of Oregon

February 6, 2019

David Monk / Apache

February 13, 2019

Felix Herman / SEG

February 20, 2019

Christoph Sens-Schonfelder  / Potsdam Germany

February 27, 2019

Arne Graue / Tentative

March 6, 2019
March 13, 2019
March 20, 2019
April 10, 2019

Dan Rothman / MIT

April 17, 2019
April 24, 2019