My students and I study the sedimentary record to understand the roles of tectonics and climate in controlling basin subsidence and filling. The tools we use are drawn a number of geology sub-disciplines including basin analysis, sedimentology, regional tectonics, structural geology, stable isotope geochemistry, magnetostratigraphy, radiogenic isotope geochronology and thermochronology. Our research focuses on testing theory predictions using field-based relationships, laboratory analyses, and numerical modeling approaches.

One of my recent interests includes the basin record of the onset of orogenesis and subsequent changes in basin geometry based on quantitative multi-proxy sediment provenance and dispersal reconstructions.

I am also pursing the stable isotopic record of elevation changes in high-elevation terranes including the Tibetan Plateau and Peruvian Altiplano. Surface uplift can result in local and regional climate and environmental changes which can also impact the depositional and stable isotope systems. In order to accurately understand the drivers behind observed changes in sedimentology and stable isotope systems, we seek also to understand changes in environment and climate through time.


Joel Saylor
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)
Office: 328 SR1
Phone: (713) 893-0669


  1. May 2015: Kurt Sundell received multiple awards including the Natural Science and Mathematics Alumni Association Scholarship, Joe & Lucy Steward Scholarship,Houston Geological Society Outstanding Student Award, University of Houston Geoscience Day 1st place oral presentation, and the Sam Penn Memorial Endowment Scholarship Outstanding Academic Achievements in Geology.
  2. April 2015: Kurt Sundell is headed to the "Mountain Ranges and High Plateaus" University of Michigan Summer School. Article Link
  3. April 2015: Tyson Smith awarded 2nd place Begining Graduate Student Poster Presentation (UH Geoscience Day).
  4. April 2015: Tyson Smith awarded Outstanding Academic Achievements Scholarship in Geology award.
  5. April 2015: Nicolas Bartschi awarded Outstanding Academic Achievements in Geology award
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