Groundwater Systems

Macrosystems analysis evaluates recharge to playa lake basins and groundwater dependent ecosystems in the Andean high plains.

Natural Gas & Hydraulic Fracturing

Energy Institute releases interdisciplinary study.

Geothermal Basins

A pilot case to compare field observation and perception of environmental impacts.

Energy-Water Dialog

The first participatory workshop to engage in science-based dialog was held in collaboration with Indigenous Communities in the Andes. Topics included Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and cooperative energy development.

Welcome to Encompass

The ENCOMPASS cyberinfrastructure project provides a systems view of energy, environmental, and earth resource issues with the goal of spanning boundaries: across centers of knowledge, disciplines, cultures, technologies, resource type, and global hemispheres.


Energy, Earth & Environment

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal resources are an important alternative energy resource around the globe. Advances in technologies and innovative approaches to exploration and development are opening up the potential for geothermal development.  Research in this area explores uses of the US Geosciences Information Network, public perceptions of geothermal resources, and decision support tools for industry and communities.


Natural Gas & Hydraulic Fracturing

The recent discovery in the United States of more than 200 years of secure, domestic natural gas sources bodes well for our Nation's energy future. These reserves, now accessible because of hydraulic fracturing shale, are predominantly found in Texas, New York, Pennsylvania – in the Barnett, Haynesville and Marcellus shale plays, respectively. The problem is that the development of these vast shale gas resources through "fracing" has been accompanied by concerns of damage to groundwater and surface water.


Groundwater Resource Management

Groundwater is a key buffer resource for society around the world. As a subterranean resource, groundwater can be best understood through modelling and simulation. Simultaneously the management and dependency upon groundwater relies on socially determined decisions.

News and articles

  The HeatSeekers, a four person team from the Jackson School of Geosciences of The University of Texas at Austin, is competing in a National Geothermal Student competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy.  Team members created an interactive favorability tool that can be used on a multi-touch screen to support decision making and communication of scientific information.




  • Consnet

    ConsNet is a comprehensive software package for the design and analysis of multicriteria decision problems.  Beyond the considerable search capabilities, ConsNet also functions as a general decision support tool that enables ongoing interactive analysis; planners design their own searches, analyze the results in real time, create portfolios of preferred solutions, and save their progress. Users may explore the problem from a variety of different perspectives, which enhances problem understanding.

  • Serious Gaming & Systems Dynamics Models

    This links to systems dynamics models created by graduate students in the Decision Pathways Course. Students complete a group class project to model an energy or earth resource problem, of the kind used for participatory and interactive modeling exercises. /p>

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    • ENCOMPASSForge

      Develop your own code base or contribute to ongoing projects using the version control repository.

Education & Engagement

Paricipatory Modelling & Serious Gaming

Decisions, policies, and management of our energy and earth resources are not straightforward. One of the best ways to teach people about realistic tradeoffs, risks, and the extent of our scientific knowledge is through dynamic interactions.  Policies that guide management of energy and earth resources are enmeshed in complex, dynamic conditions that involve understanding from across multiple disciplines or practices. Most often the knowledge that scientists and engineers have developed through years of research, is not communicated to the communities and policymakers who need it. Serious Games are developed from real-world cases to generate tools and models that can be used to generate new insights and understanding of complex adaptive systems issues.

Outreach Events and Activities

Group learning is one of the most powerful mechanisms humans use to make sense of complexity around us.  The Engagement and Education research thrust explores group processes of informed dialog and deliberation.  Core to this approach are methodologies that are appropriate for resolving conflicts and finding consensus solutions around the strategic use and management of our most precious resources.


Science-based Tourism Modules

Community stakeholders with involvement of the Lincanantay Indigenous community, along with others, have formed a Grupo Cientifico-Etnico in the II Region of Chile.  This group hosts science information and dialgog sessions to inform the community of relevant scientific knowledge for the region.  Additionally, the group began capacity building sessions in January 2012 forl Andean communities in Chile to generate exchange of science information and initiate design for a science-based tourism program.