Recent University of New Orleans graduate student Randy Broussard won the Best Presentation Award at the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Convention in Houston in September. Broussard, who earned a master’s degree in earth and environmental sciences from UNO, presented a paper that was part of his master’s thesis. In his presentation, he used seismic data to shed new light on the structure and formation of a massive salt dome located in the central Gulf of Mexico.
Broussard and his graduate thesis adviser, Mostofa Sarwar, unraveled the history of the formation of the Green Knoll salt dome, which started developing 94 million years ago.
“The Gulf of Mexico is a prolific petroleum basin, which has complex geological components with intricate salt domes mingled with sedimentary structures,” said Sarwar, a geophysicist and professor of earth and environmental sciences. “The interpretation of this seismic data can help guide petroleum exploration around and beneath this salt dome.”
The seismic data was provided to UNO by geophysical services company WesternGeco, which is owned by Schlumberger, and computer hardware and software were provided by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Midland Valley, an oil and gas exploration company.
In addition to his graduate degree, Broussard earned two bachelor’s degrees from UNO—one in business administration and marketing, and one in earth and environmental sciences with a concentration in geology. He is currently employed as a geologist by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
“I’m so proud of Randy for winning this prestigious award in such a competitive environment,” Sarwar said. “He worked for two and a half years on this project and the award is a testament to the quality of his research and his presentation.”
The Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies is a national organization consisting of 13 professional societies from the U.S. and Mexico, with a membership of more than 10,000 geoscientists.