Industry-Rice Earth Science Symposia

IRESS – 2018

Whole Earth Carbon Cycling – bridging academia and industry

IRESS: February 22-23, 2018 – Rice University, Houston, TX

pre-IRESS workshop: Feb 21, 2018 – Rice University, Houston, TX

sponsored by:

Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Rice University

Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies, Rice University

National Science Foundation

VENUE LOCATION:  Baker Institute of Public Policy
click here for map of university
Visitor parking is available in the underground garage at the Jones Business School or next to entrance 20 from Rice Blvd.

IRESS 2018 – Whole Earth Systems and carbon

(IRESS 2017 – Building a passive margin)

The habitability of our planet depends in large part on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.  Too little carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Earth’s surface could freeze over, but too much could lead to runaway greenhouse. Although carbon dioxide levels over Earth’s history have not changed so much to extinguish life completely, the variations are significant enough to have influenced the evolution of life, climate, and the nature of geologic processes on Earth’s surface.

This workshop will bring together a diverse set of experts from academia and industry to develop a better understanding of how carbon cycling has evolved on Earth.  We will discuss the origin of volatiles from a planetary accretion and differentiation perspective and how volatiles are exchanged between deep planetary interiors and their atmospheres through tectonics, magmatism, weathering, sedimentation, and biology.  Of interest will be how these processes operate over vast lengthscales and timescales from cycling on the whole  Earth scale, which operates on billions to millions of years, to the exchange of carbon between the ocean and atmosphere, which operates on timescales of seconds to thousands of years.

We will also discuss carbon in the context of energy, from the origin of hydrocarbon source rocks to the generation of reservoirs.  Organic-rich sediments can also lead to important metal ores.  We will discuss new technologies for hydrocarbon exploration and source rock characterization.  Finally, we will discuss carbon economics and policy in terms of energy, environment and society.  IRESS 2018 represents a unique opportunity to have a vigorous discussion about carbon in the context of economic growth and the habitability of our planet.

Center for a Sustainable Earth
An interdisciplinary think tank at Rice University

With all these advancements, there is no better time than now to revisit, challenge and redefine our understanding of passive margins, and equally importantly to explore the implications for natural resources, paleo-environments, climate and Earth history.  We are also in a time where we know more as a community, but we have become more specialized than ever before, making it difficult to communicate and synthesize.  We are at a crossroads, where further progress requires an interdisciplinary approach that juxtaposes the deep and surface Earth, industry and academics, and finally physicists, chemists and geologists.  Houston, through the IRESS initiative launched in 2014 and sponsored by Rice University’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (EEPS), offers a unique opportunity to bring together leaders in Earth science from both industry and academia.  The Rice EEPS department is one of the world’s leading innovators of generating new frameworks for understanding whole Earth system dynamics.  Rice EEPS, in partnership with industry and private enterprise, will serve as a global think tank to advance our understanding of earth, planetary and environmental systems.  To learn more, click here.


21 Feb, 2018 PRE-IRESS workshop

Deep Earth-atmosphere interactions and long term climate

22 Feb, 2018 IRESS

AM: Carbon cycling over different timescales

PM: Biogeochemical perspectives

23 Feb, 2018 IRESS

AM: New technologies

PM: Energy, economics and environment

Preliminary speaker list (stay tuned)

Taras Bryndzia (Shell) – geochemical and physical properties of shale

Laura Carter (Rice) – Magma/crust interaction and volatile fluxing

Rajdeep Dasgupta (Rice) – Planetary evolution and carbon

Marie Edmonds (Cambridge University) – constraints on volatile fluxing through volcanoes

Gerald Dickens (Rice) – Hyperthermals – origins and response

Priyank Jaiswal (Oklahoma State) – geophysical imaging of biocementation

Hehe Jiang (Rice) – Long term climate, tectonics and weathering

Lee Kump (Penn State) – long term carbon cycling

Jade Star Lackey (Pomona) – Volatile fluxing through skarns

Cin-Ty Lee (Rice) – Tectonics and nutrient cycling

Adrian Lenardic (Rice) – Planetary dynamics and habitability

Kenneth Medlock (Baker Institute) – Energy, economics and environment

Chris Reinhard (Georgia Tech) – secular changes in nutrient and carbon cycling

Lori Summa (former ExxonMobil) – sequence stratigraphy and carbon

Richard Zeebe (U Hawaii) – Nutrient cycling in oceans

Steering Committee

Ken Abdulah (Subsurface Clarity)

Dorothy Ballentine (Sneider Exploration)

Kevin Biddle

Ed Biegert (Shell)

Martha Lou Broussard

Cal Cooper (Apache)

Rajdeep Dasgupta

Gerald Dickens

André Droxler

Bryn Dugre

John Jeffers (Southwestern)

Mitch Harris (Chevron)

Cin-Ty Lee (committee chair)

Kenneth Medlock III (Baker Institute, Center for Energy Studies)

Jeff Nittrouer

Martin Schuepbach (Schuepbach Energy)

John Sneider (Sneider Exploration)

Samuel Stubbs (Pillsbury)

Manik Talwani

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Corporate Sponsorship

For additional sponsorship information, please email