TDI-Brooks International recently hosted the eleventh annual University of Texas at Austin’s Marine Geology and Geophysics Camp on the R/V Brooks McCall (BMCC). 

A mixed group of undergrads and grad students went out on the vessel daily to get hands on practice using standard survey equipment.  A group of students boarded the vessel at the Maurice Ewing Hall dock at the UT Galveston Medical Branch. The cruise focused on using seismic imaging to capture channels carved by the Trinity River in the geological record.

The area of exploration is in the Trinity River Paleo valley, southwest of Galveston Bay, where the Trinity River used to flow when the sea level was lower. John Goff, senior research scientist and instructor says, “One of the things we are trying to discover is how much sand is in the river valley itself. The BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) is particularly interested in cataloging sand resources on the coast. This is a potential place where folks could go and recover those sand resources for beach replenishment projects, so that’s kind of exciting.”


The students deployed two types of seismic technology aboard the Brooks McCall to collect data on the seafloor layers. The Chirp emits a high frequency ping and provides high-resolution data on about the first 30-50 meters of seafloor depth—the same depth where the ancient river channel cuts through. An airgun and hydrophone array provides a deeper look into the surrounding geology, capturing data about the seafloor 75-100 meters down.

UT students processing a piston core. Each team collected and processed its own core.

For many of the students , this was their first taste of field work and the first time they experienced data collection first hand. The purpose of the course is to teach the students how to run a research survey from conception and planning all the way to the presentation of data findings and conclusions.

For further information on the University of Texas at Austin’s Marine Geology and Geophysics Camp contact:  Monica Kortsha- Science Writer and Online Media Representative/ Jackson School of Geosciences:

TDI-Brooks is both owned and operated by world-renown geochemists Dr. Jim Brooks and Dr. Bernie Bernard who have a long standing tradition of partnerships with academic institutions for research and development.  

If your institution is looking for a charter vessel for research, we have available the R/V Brooks McCall in US waters and the R/V GYRE and R/V PROTEUS operating mostly in international waters. The Brooks McCall remains operational in the Gulf of Mexico out of its homeport of Freeport, TX. Over the last several months it has conducted post-hurricane surveys, metocean buoy rotation projects for GERG at Texas A&M University; coring/heat flow/seep-hunting programs and pipeline survey work.

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TDI-Brooks International, Inc.
14391 S. Dowling RD
College Station, TX 77845

Phone: +1 (979) 693-3446