Industry-Rice Earth Science Symposia


A reliable and sustainable supply of natural resources, from hydrocarbons to the mineral resources needed to support alternative energies, is critical for sustaining a prosperous and peaceful future of the 7 billion people on our planet. While our needs for natural resources grow, we must also be responsible stewards of our environment, from our backyards to the scale of our planet. The purpose of this symposium is to break down the barriers between scientists, policy makers, industry leaders and business entrepreneurs to collectively generate a deeper understanding of our planet’s natural resources and how we can keep our planet habitable.

Dinner Keynote (Baker Institute of Public Policy)

Understanding Earth through the exploration of other planets: Mars 2020 and Rice’s planetary future

Over the past couple decades, an influx of spacecraft missions to Mars and other planetary bodies have dramatically increased our understanding of geology in extraterrestrial environments. The new findings from other worlds push us to re-evaluate our understanding of our home planet and create a paradigm where Earth is one of many examples of geologic processes. Kirsten will discuss recent findings from Mars and how they have influenced thinking on Earth, how upcoming missions like the Mars 2020 Rover will further expand our perspective, and Rice’s aspirations in planetary exploration.    

Dr. Kirsten Siebach (Rice University)

March 21, 6-8 pm

Kirsten Siebach is an Assistant Professor in the Rice University Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences. Her work focuses on understanding the history of water interacting with sediments on Mars and early Earth through analysis of sedimentary rock textures and chemistry. She is currently a member of the Science and Operations Teams for the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Mars Science Laboratory. She completed her PhD in Geology at Caltech and then did postdoctoral research in geochemistry at Stony Brook University. Prior to Caltech, she attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Earth & Planetary Science and Chemistry.  She is also actively engaged in promoting education and outreach related to Earth and Planetary science and regularly presents at schools and outreach events.

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Day themes

March 21, 2019.
  • Policy and economics of natural resources
  • Geology of strategic minerals
  • Energy storage
Mar 22, 2019
  • Metal transport – volcanism and beyond
  • Metal transport – life and the oceans
Speaker list
  • Francis Albarede (Rice, ENS-Lyon, France) – Metals, coins and ancient trade routes
  • Sibani Lisa Biswal (Rice – Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering/Materials Science and Nano-engineering) – Advances in Lithium-Ion Batteries: Planning for the Next Generation of Energy Storage
  • Jason Czapla (Controlled Thermal Resources) – Lithium extraction from Salton Sea Brines
  • Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution of Washington) – The evolution of minerals through Earth’s history
  • Richard Herrington (The Natural History Museum, London) – Cobalt ores
  • Cin-Ty Lee and Kevin Biddle (Rice U, Dept. Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences) – The origin and economics of Lithium ores
  • Pilar Lecumberri-Sanchez (U Alberta) – hydrocarbon transport of rare earth elements and other metals
  • Kenneth Medlock (Rice U, Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies) – Geopolitics and economics of strategic mineral resources
  • Shaunna Morrison (Carnegie Institution of Washington) – Data science in mineral exploration
  • James Reilly (USGS director) – strategic minerals
  • Simone Runyon (U Wyoming) – Hydrothermal type ore deposits: a review
  • Dirk Smit (VP Research Strategy, Shell Global Solutions) – Opportunities for Earth Sciences  and Technology  in the Energy Transition
  • Matthew Steele-MacInnes (U Alberta) – ore forming fluids
  • Shandell Szabo (VP Anadarko) – Augmented Intelligence
  • Cyndi Yeilding (Senior VP, BP America)
  • Joshua West (U Southern California) – Metal cycling in the surface environment
  • A. E. Williams-Jones (McGill University) – The nature and origin of rare earth element deposits, a tale of magmas and fluids.
Possible field trip (Mar 23-25, 2019)

We will visit organic-rich source rocks of the Cretaceous Eagle Ford formation (a major unconventional hydrocarbon play) and the Terlingua area mercury mines, formed when Tertiary magmas intersected these Cretaceous organic-rich source rocks.  We will investigate the connection between source rocks, volcanic ash, and metal enrichment.  We will also be able to see how structure, magmatism, hydrothermalism and wallrock composition conspire to make an ore deposit. Led by Daniel Minisini (Shell) and Cin-Ty Lee (Rice)