Department of Geosciences

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Faculty and Research

Carlos Aiken


Ph. D., University of Arizona, 1976
M. Sc., University of Washington, 1970
B. Sc., University of Washington, 1965

Research Interests

Potential fields applied to tectonics, resources (hydrocarbons, minerals, geothermal), and geotechnical and environmental problems. Emphasis on gravity including developing new digital gravity data acquisition methodology for higher accuracy and resolution applications (including developing terrain mapping techniques with reflectorless laser rangefinders for inner zone terrain corrections); hydrocarbon reservoir management by gravity in a test on the North Slope of Alaska. Development of gravity and magnetic data bases of Mexico and Ecuador.

Global Positioning System (GPS) applications to geophysics and geology. Emphasis on rapid survey techniques and special attention to the problem of using GPS ellipsoid heights for land surveys. Applied in-house geoid modeling to corrections to heights in geosciences applications. Building a centimeter accuracy geoid model for the Texas Gulf Coast with UT-Austin and Texas A&M tied to tidal gauges for coastal hazard studies and mapping of sea level.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applied to geology and geophysics. Built GIS geologic databases of Venezuela, China, and Ecuador and multi-layer GIS databases of Mexico

Developing new digital data acquisition (mapping) techniques using field computers, GPS, GIS and reflectorless laser rangefinders in which both high resolution terrain and specific geologic feature (bedding, faults, etc.) mapping is carried out. Development of real time geological analysis (such as stratigraphic thicknesses, strikes and dips) in the field.

Dissertations and Theses Supervised

Anne H. Covault, MS, 2006.  Thesis: Structural architecture and deformation of the Salina Creek Tunnel normal fault zone, Central Utah, USA

John B. Thurmond, PhD, 2006.  Dissertation: Applications of three-dimensional digital mapping in sedimentology: collection, visualization and interpretation.

Xueming Xu, PhD, 2000.  Dissertation: Three-dimensional virtual geology: photorealistic outcrops, and their acquisition, visualization and analysis.

Gregory D. Lyman, MS, 1997.  Thesis: Terrain mapping by reflectorless laser rangefinding systems for inner zone gravity terrain corrections.

Holly A. Hunter, MS, 1996.  Thesis: An integrated 3-D gravity and seismic study of Ouachita Frontal Thrust Belt, Pittsburg and Latimer Counties, Oklahoma.

Mamadou Balde, PhD, 1994.  Dissertation: Vertical control by GPS satellite surveying rapid methods techniques and high resolution local geoid computation: applications to high accuracy mapping and geophysical data acquisition.

Todd C. Stallings, MS, 1994.  Thesis: Establishing a geophysical and geological GIS database of Mexico and demonstrating GIS as a relational tool for interpretation.

Randall L. Hunt, MS, 1992.  Thesis: A gravity/magnetic investigation of the crustal structure of south Texas /northeastern Mexico : inferences of the Mesozoic tectonics.

Betty Catherine Ragland, MS, 1988.  Thesis: Gravity investigation of a portion of the Ouachita Central Zone, southeastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

Bert A. Lasley, MS, 1987.  Thesis: A microgravity study of the structural relationship of Penitentiary and Carbon Thrust Faults, Krebs Quadrangle, Oklahoma.

Robert W. Schellhorn, MS, 1987.  Thesis: Regional crustal study of northern Mexico.

Seunghee Lee, MS, 1986.  Thesis: Phase field imaging of 2-D resistivity distributions from electromagnetic data.

Chung-tien Yang, MS, 1986.  Thesis: The magnetoelectric phenomenom reviewed and evaluated as an exploration tool to detect hydrocarbon accumulation.

Kevin L. Mickus, MS, 1985.  Thesis: A controlled source audiomagnetotelluric survey as part of an integrated geophysical study of the Richmond Basin, Virginia.

Steven H. Schaps, MS, 1985.  Thesis: A gravity/seismic interpretation of cretaceous features within the central portions of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska.

Ming-Ren Hong, PhD, 1982.  Dissertation: The inversion of magnetic and gravity anomalies and the Depth to Curie Isotherm.

William D. Kennedy, MS, 1982.  Thesis: Geophysical studies of the southern Alburquerque Basin of the Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico.

Recent Publications

Real-time data acquisition and quality control for gravity surveys. Tianyou Chen, John Ferguson, Carlos Aiken  and Jerry Brady The Leading Edge 24 (2005) 7, 702-704.

New standards for reducing gravity data: The North American gravity database. William J. Hinze, Carlos Aiken, et. al Geophysics 70 (2005) 4, J25-J32.

Using Outcrop Data in the 21st Century - New methods and applications, with example from the Ainsa Turbidite System, Ainsa, Spain J. Thurmond, T. Loseth, J. Rivenaes, O. Martinsen, X. Xu and C. Aiken. Deep-Water Outcrops of the World Atlas, ed. by T. Nilsen., R. Shew, G. Steffens, and J. Studlick Tulsa, OK: American Association of Petroleum Geologists  (2005) Special Publication. CD-ROM 

Integrated study of ancient delta front deposits, using outcrop, ground penetrating radar and three dimension photorealistic data: Cretaceous Panther Tongue sandstone, Utah. C. Olariu, J. Bhattacharya,, X. Xu,  C. Aiken, X. Zeng and G. McMechan
River Deltas: Concepts, Models and Examples, ed. by J.P. Bhattacharya and L. Giosan 
Tulsa, OK: SEPM Special Publication 83 (2005)

Geoid estimation in a coastal region: Corpus Christi, Texas, USA Tianyou Chen, Carlos L.V. Aiken, John Ferguson, Roberto G. Gutierrez and Gary A. Jeffress Dynamic Planet 2005 Monitoring and Understanding a Dynamic Planet with Geodetic and Oceanographic Tools Cairns, Australia (August 2005) Joint Assembly of International Associations: IAG, IAPSO and IABO

3D Laser scanning and virtual photorealistic outcrops: acquisition, visualization and analysis, Short Course #3. Carlos Aiken, Xueming Xu, John Thurmond, Mohamed Abdelsalam, Mariana Olariu, and Cornel Olariu. Tulsa, OK : American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2004) 100 p.

  Scanners, Digital Cameras and 3D Models Short Course. Carlos Aiken, Xueming Xu and Bobbie Nuebert. Texas Society of Professional Surveyors (2004) 78 p.

 3-D imaging of a reservoir analog in point bar deposits in the Ferron sandstone, Utah using ground-penetrating radar. X. Zeng, George A. McMechan, Janok P. Bhattacharya, Carlos Aiken, Xueming  Xu, William S. Hammon III, and Rucsandra M. Corbeanu. Geophysical Prospecting 52 (2004) 151-163.

Oldow, J.S., Ferranti, L., Lewis, D.S., Campbell, J.K., D'Argenio, B.D., Catalano, R., Pappone, G., Camignani, P., Conti, P., and Aiken, C.L.V., 2002, Active fragmentation of Adria, the northern African promontory, central Mediterranean orogen, v 30, p 779-782.

Hare, J., Ferguson, J., Aiken, C. L. V. and Oldow, J, 2001. "Quantitative Characterization and Elevation Estimation of Lake Lahonton Shoreline Terraces from High Resolution Digital Elevation Models" Journal of Geophysical Research, v 106, p 26761-26774.

Oldow, J., Aiken, C.,  Ferguson, Hare, J. and  Hardyman, R., 2001,  Active displacement transfer and differential motion between tectonic blocks within the central Walker Lane, western Nevada, Geology, v.29, p.19-22.

Xu, X., Bhattacharya, J., Davies, R. K., and Aiken, C. L. V., 2001, " Digital Geologic Mapping of the Ferron Sandstone, Muddy Creek, Utah with GPS and lasers" GPS Solutions, v.5, no.1, John Wiley, p. 23-32.

  • Updated: July 27, 2007