Mengli Zhang

Research Assistant Professor; Co-director Center for Gravity, Electrical and Magnetic Studies (CGEM) 


  • PhD in Geophysics, Colorado School of Mines, USA
  • MS in Geosciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA
  • MS in Information and Communication System, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China
  • BS in Information Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China

Research Areas

My interest is in the exploration of clean energy, which aims to achieve the net-zero carbon emission and mitigate climate changes affecting human society. My research focuses on the optimization of the energy and mineral exploration cycle from acquisition, interpretation, to discovery by incorporating economic factors. I prefer the result-oriented approaches to solve real-world problems using interdisciplinary knowledge and tools: such as the integration of multi-geophysical data from seismic, electromagnetic, gravity and so on, combination of machine learning from computer science, and reconfiguration of sampling theory from applied mathematics and electrical engineering.  My current research also focuses on the information-based economical geophysical data acquisition, which has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of exploration for subsurface energy and minerals and to accelerate discoveries.

  • Geologic Hydrogen exploration
  • Mineral exploration
  • Energy exploration
  • CCS

Active projects

  • PI: Geophysical Characterization and Site-Scale Real-Time Monitoring in Stimulated Hydrogen; Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)
  • PI: Kemper EM survey data processing and assessment for carbon storage National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL DOE)
  • PI: Geo-Multiphysics Research Consortium (GMRC)
  • PI:Delineating buried pipes using magnetic data from ergodic borehole acquisition, Virginia Department of Transportation
  • Co-PI:Geologic H2 resource consortium: Joint industry Program with USGS


  • GPGN598 Compressive sensing in applied geosciences
  • GPGN404: Digital Signal Processing
  • GPGN598A: Geophysics in Mineral Exploration


Recent Publications

  • Zhang, M., and Y. Li, 2023, Ergodic sampling: A new data acquisition method to save cost and gather more information: Geophysical Prospecting, 72, no. 2,
  • Zhang, M., and Y. Li, 2023, Efficient magnetotelluric data acquisition using irregular stations and compressive sensing reconstruction: Journal of Applied Geophysics, 217, 105-169,

Invited Talk:

  • AAAS Annual meeting 2024 Denver: Science breakthroughs: Hunt for Natural Hydrogen Heats Up

Work Experience

  • Geophysicist in China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China
  • Chief Geophysicist for eastern Ordos Basin, and ten years’ experience to determine locations of more than 500 drilled wells and to carry out post-drilling analyses
  • Manager in four exploration projects and principal geophysicist in 11 projects

Professional Society Membership

  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • Geological Society of America (GSA)