Robert E. Sheriff Lecture - University of Houston
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Robert E. Sheriff Lecture

  1. Maximum of 50 students allowed to present posters.
  2. Poster Abstract Submission: 
  3. Students not presenting posters: Please RSVP with HGS here. Admission is $5.

NB: Prize categories to be determined.

 Monday, November 1, 2021

Venue: Virtual via zoom
Time: 6:00-9:00 pm
Register: Please visit the HGS website to register.
HGS Registration ends at 3pm on 11/1/21.
HGS will email zoom link access after registration.

Sheriff Lecture Committee

Regina Capuano (chair), Dan Hauptvogel, Paul Mann, Steve Naruk, and Jiajia Sun.

Judges Needed for Poster Session

We invite interested professionals willing to serve as virtual poster judges to contact
Dr. Dan Hauptvogel at





6:15pm Oct 29 - 6pm Nov 1 – Poster viewing period for the public and Poster Judges to review the following for each student:

  1. Poster PDF
  2. Poster Video Presentations

5:00 -6:00 pm    Judges Q&A with individual student poster presenters
                           (presenter is expected to be at their Team channel during this entire period).


6:00 pm       Introductory remarks
6:10 pm       Dr. Tom Lapen (UH-Earth and Atm. Sci. Department Chair) - Department Update
6:30 pm       Dr. Paul Mann - Introduce the Sheriff Lecture speaker
6:35 pm       Dr. Sean Gulick - Sheriff Lecture Presentation with Q&A
7:45 pm       Dr. Henry Chafetz - Introduce the outstanding alumni award winner
7:55 pm       Dr. William Dupre - EAS Outstanding Alumni Award - award acceptance - short presentation
8:05 pm       Dr. Tom Lapen - UH Student Poster Competition - Award announcements 
8:40 pm       Dr. Tom Lapen - Final remarks




Professor Sean Gulick,
Jackson School of Geosciences
University of Texas at Austin

Lecture: Life and Death by Impact: Drilling for Clues


The most recent of Earth’s five largest mass extinction events occurred 66 Ma, coeval with the impact of a ~12 km asteroid, striking at ~60 degrees into what is today the Yucatán Peninsula, México, producing the ~200 km-wide Chicxulub crater. This impact, by some estimations, drove the extinction of 75% of life on Earth at the genus level including all non-avian dinosaurs.  Proposed kill mechanisms include thermal effects caused by the reentry of fast ejecta into Earth’s atmosphere, dust, soot, and sulfate aerosols reducing Earth’s solar insolation and ocean acidification. In 2016, 835 m of core was recovered from the Chicxulub impact structure through IODP-ICDP Expedition 364. Analyses done on these cores, downhole logs, and geophysical site survey data have led to a series of advancements to our understanding of impact cratering processes and to how the Chicxulub impact affected the Earth’s environment leading to the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Key areas of discovery include: 1) clear evidence for origin of peak rings and crater dynamics in large impacts, 2) highest resolution record to date of impact processes within the crater include deposition of impactites and role of ocean resurge, 3) rapid recovery of life at ground zero with a key niche being filled by cyanobacteria, and 4) development of a long lived hydrothermal system with astrobiological implications.

About the Speaker

Dr. Sean Gulick is a Research Professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin where he conducts research and supervises student research projects in the areas of tectonic-climate interactions, the role of catastrophism in the geologic record and marine and planetary geophysical imaging at nested resolutions.  His Sheriff lecture at the University of Houston will focus on his current research on the geological processes, environmental effects, and habitability of the Cretaceous-Paleogene Chicxulub meteor impact.  In order to test many hypotheses related to the effects of the impact, Sean was the co-chief scientist for IODP Expedition 364 to the Chixcilub Impact Crater during 2016-18.

The shipboard experiences and research outcomes of the IODP expedition to the Chixcilub impact site have been featured on NOVA on PBS:

In 2013-15 he was co-chief for IODP Expedition 341 that investigated tectonic and glacial interactions recorded by sedimentation in the Gulf of Alaska. His other current research projects include margin evolution of subduction and transform faulting in Alaska, Sumatra, New Zealand and Japan.  In 2014, Sean led the seismic imaging component of a multidisciplinary cruise to the unexplored Sabrina Coast shelf in East Antarctica

Prior to his joining the research staff of the Jackson School in 1999, Sean completed his PhD dissertation on seismic imaging of the southern Cascadia subduction zone.  Sean holds a bachelors degree in geology with a a minor in marine sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

Sean is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and was previously selected as a distinguished lecturer for the Consortium of Ocean Leadership and Joint Oceanographic Institutions.  He has received numerous research and teaching awards at the UT Jackson School where he has supervised 3 postdoctoral researchers, 21 MS and PhD students and 5 undergraduate students.

Sean lives on a small ranch in Sunset Valley Texas with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Jobst, and their horses, dogs, cats, and chickens. He competes in medieval jousting tournaments and conducts medieval research as a hobby.