Students Survey San Luis Pass Flood Tidal Delta Southwest of Galveston Island

Research on Evolution of Flood Tidal Delta during Last 3,500 Years

This summer, a seismic survey was completed using the University of Houston Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences’ shallow water research vessel, R/V Mishipeshu, a pontoon boat modified for towing survey gear. The use of a pontoon boat allows surveys to be completed in shallower water than most seismic surveys and imaging of depositional environments not typically seen.

San Luis Pass Survey GroupSan Luis Pass Survey Group (from left): Magdalena Dobrijevic, Raza Mir, Li Chang, Itzel Cardenas, Carolina Ramon and Jiannan Wang.A CHIRP subbottom profiler was towed and used for collection of high-resolution seismic data. In total, 65 km of seismic data was collected. The work was part of a geology Ph.D. research project by Carolina Ramon that focused on the evolution of the San Luis pass flood tidal delta during the last 3,500 years. The San Luis Pass is a tidal inlet located on the Texas Gulf Coast, approximately 80 km south of Houston and 32 km southwest of Galveston. The pass separates Galveston and Follets Island.

The seismic survey was a great opportunity for students to actively integrate geology and geophysics studies and to acquire a set of new skills including marine survey planning, shallow water seismic acquisition, frequency variations, sediment types, marine navigation systems, subsurface structures, safety practices, equipment management, and boat driving.

The participants were graduate students and faculty from UH and undergraduates from UH and UH-Downtown (UHD), Undergraduate students included Raza Mir (UHD), Itzel Cardenas (UHD), and Magdalena Dobrijevic (UH). Graduate students participating included Ben Chang, Carolina Ramon, Matthew Sexton and Jiannan Wang. Research staff Li Chang and Dr. Julia Wellner, assistant professor, also participated. Dr. Will Sager provided the CHIRP system.

This survey is the first use of the R/V Mishipeshu for a research survey. This survey was made possible by funding from AAPG Grants-in-Aid and a grant from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

- Carolina Ramon, Ph.D. Student, Geology