Noteworthy & New
Book Honed At SMU Wins Bancroft Prize
a 2001-02 Bill and Rita Clements Fellow
for the Study of Southwestern America, received a 2009 Bancroft
Prize for the Comanche Empire
(2008). The book was published
in cooperation with SMU’s William P.
Clements Center for Southwest Studies
in Dedman College. The esteemed Bancroft
Prizes are awarded annually by
Columbia University to authors of distinguished
works in American history
Now an associate professor of history
and co-director of the Center for Borderlands
and Transcultural Studies at
on the revelatory book about the nation-changing power of the
Comanche Indians while at SMU.
In the acknowledgments section, the author notes that the
book would not exist without the counsel and encouragement of
SMU’s David Weber, Robert and Nancy Dedman Professor of
History and director of the Clements Center, and the manuscript
workshop that brought together prominent scholars to discuss
Established in 1996, the Clements Center annually provides postdoctoral
fellowships for scholars studying the American Southwest
and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Fellowships to emerging and
senior scholars have resulted in 22 books published by 16 major
For more information: smu.edu/swcenter
Notes From The Underground: South Texas Is Hot
Researchers with the Geothermal Laboratory in Dedman College
of Humanities and Sciences are putting Texas’ underground
hot spots on the geothermal map.
The team includes W.B. Hamilton Professor of Geophysics
lab coordinator Maria Richards,
and junior Ramsey Kweik,
a double major in
mechanical engineering and earth sciences. They are completing
a geothermal assessment of a region of the state bounded by I-35
and Texas’ eastern border. The Texas State Energy Conservation
Office funded the study with a $200,000 grant.
Using data from existing oil and gas wells, including temperature
readings taken when wells were drilled initially, they identified
“extensive and diverse geothermal resources” for a series of
temperature maps taken at varying depths.
“One of the surprises was how hot South Texas wells came in,”
Richards says. “There were many over 300 degrees Fahrenheit;
most Texas wells registered in the 200- to 350-degree range.”
Although the Gulf Coast is the most likely location for large-scale
geothermal energy production, South Texas wells show potential
for enhanced systems. Such systems give nature a boost by drilling
into hot rock, circulating fluid through the fractured layers, and
pumping the resulting hot water and steam back to the surface to
drive turbines and produce electricity, Richards explains.
Thousands of East Texas wells are ideal for smaller, site-specific
projects similar to the SMU geothermal plant proposed by Andres
Ruzo ’09 and junior Elizabeth Corey (see article on page 24).
The findings will be published in the Geothermal Resources
Council Transactions and presented at the Council’s annual
meeting in October.
A recent $45,000 grant from the Department of Energy will support
further temperature study in the state’s existing hydrocarbon
Blackwell, Richards and Stepp, joined by junior geology
major Katelyn Verner
, will compile a comparison of equilibrium
temperature logs to improve temperature corrections from oil
and gas well logs.
“Temperature readings are taken from the top to the bottom of
a well every so many feet after the well has returned to its in situ
conditions,” Richards says. “We are looking for wells over 9,000
feet to measure.”
A professional well-logging company will collect data. SMU’s
team will finish logging in September and complete the analysis
in December. The research will assist in future temperature calculations,
The projects add Texas data to the U.S. Geothermal Map of subterranean
updated by SMU’s
a grant of $489,521
arm of the Silicon
Valley Web company,
to update the
U.S. portion of his 2004 Geothermal Map of North America. The
funding will allow researchers to provide information on regions
where data has been spotty or unavailable.
For more information: smu.edu/geothermal