Department of Geosciences

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Faculty & Resarch

James L. Carter


B.S., Mining/Geological Engineering, Texas Western (now U. T. El Paso ), 1961
Ph.D., Geochemistry, Rice University, 1965
Postdoctoral, Graduate Research Center of the Southwest (now U. T. Dallas), 1964-1968

Research Interests

My research interests involve five basic areas:

  1. Lunar and extraterrestrial resources,
  2. Upper mantle and lower crustal studies of the earth,
  3. Geochemical exploration and ore deposits,
  4. Environmental geochemistry,
  5. And K-T boundary and Late Cretaceous sauropod dinosaurs.

Lunar studies involve the physical and chemical characterization of lunar regolith fines returned from all Apollo flights and Luna 20 flight. This resulted in the discovery of a new fundamental growth mechanism, VLS (Vapor-Liquid-Solid); a method for mining the lunar surface for hydrogen; and the development of 23 tons of lunar soil simulant (JSC-1). New lunar maria and highland simulants are being developed.

Study of upper mantle and lower crustal xenoliths from the southwestern United States resulted in the partial fusion-partial crystallization model for determining the earth’s upper mantle mineralogical and chemical composition.

Geochemical exploration research focuses on soil and biogeochemical studies of Au, Ag, Pb, Fe, Mn, Te, and Zn over known ore bodies with development of methods to search for hidden ore bodies.

Environmental studies focus on the fate and transport of Cr, Pb, and Zn in soils and plants, and possible contamination of groundwater by oilfield activities.

Environmental lead research completed or in progress includes the RSR Smelter area of West Dallas, Texas, the Cadillac Heights, Texas, and a battery reclamation area.

Recently, I discovered the most complete and well-preserved articulated neck of the largest sauropod dinosaur yet found in Texas or in the Late Cretaceous anywhere in the world in Big Bend National Park.

Dissertations and Theses Supervised

Qi Jin, PhD, 1998.  Fluid inclusion and thermodynamic studies of the Dalingkou Ag, Pb, and Zn Ore Deposit, PR China

Hong Ma, PhD, 1996.  Aspects of tungsten-gold association in the Tungsten District, Boulder County, Colorado

Thomas E. Jenkins, PhD, 1996.  Tellurium and other elements as geochemical guides to gold, silver, and telluride deposits, Gold Hill Mining district, Boulder County, Colorado.

Gilbert M. Burleigh, MS, 1996.  A detailed geochemical study of soil lead at a former lead-acid battery recycling site

Marcelo Lavado, PhD, 1995. Geology and geochemistry of the Morococho Mining District, Peru.

Norai M. Ibrahim, MS, 1993.  Geochemical and bio-geochemical study of lead in West Dallas soils.

Hughbert A. Collier, PhD, 1993.  Borehole geophysical techniques for determining the water quality and reservoir parameters of fresh and saline water aquifers in Texas.

Bonnie L. Cooper, PhD, 1992.  Applications of electromagnetic radiation for exploration of lunar regolith for potential resources.

Kerry A. Sweeney, MS, 1990.  A comparison between the depositional environment of the Arkansas Novaculite in Atoka and McCurtain Counties, Oklahoma.

Homer J. Boyd, PhD, 1988.  Formation resistivity factors in carbonate rocks.

Charles D. Mitchell, Jr., MS, 1988.  Detection of vegetation stress related to hydrocarbon microseepage at the Velma Oilfield, Oklahoma, using field spectroradiometer, geochemical and LANDSAT Thematic Mapper.

William D. Rowe, Jr., PhD, 1987.  The geology and geochemistry of the Goodes Creek and Hawkins Branch tin occurrences in the Inner Piedmont Belt, North Carolina

Thomas L. McGehee, PhD, 1987.  Igneous-hydrothermal mineral deposits in the Balcones fault trend in Uvalde County, Texas

Shyue-Rong Vincent Yang, PhD, 1985.  Petrological and geochemical approaches to the origin of the San Angelo-Flowerpot Red Beds (Permian) and their associated stratiform copper mineralizations in north-central Texas and southwestern Oklahoma

Lawrence G. Kodosky, MS, 1985.  A detailed three-dimensional geochemical soil survey over the major anomalous gold region in the southern portion of the Aquaduct Prospect, Breckenridge Mining District, Summit County, Colorado

Annabelle M. Foos, PhD, 1984.  The mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry of the Eocene Lone Star iron ores, east Texas and the Ordovician Hooker Ironstone, northwest Georgia

Cecilia McDonald, MS, 1984.  Preliminary investigation of the bioavailability of the copper at the Aquaduct Prospect, Breckenridge, Colorado.

Long-Cheng Liang, MS, 1982.  A geochemical study of some Texas lignites

Marcelo Lavado, MS, 1980.  Geological aspects of the occurrence of zinc-lead at the San Vicente Mine, San Ramon, Tarma, Central Peru

Elaine L. Padovani, PhD, 1977.  Granulite facies xenoliths from Kilbourne Hole Maar, New Mexico, and their bearing on deep crustal evolution

Henry C. Taylor, Jr., PhD, 1973.  Silicate mineral chemistry of selected Apollo 15, 16 and 17 soils

Recent Representative Publications

"Laboratory Manual: Physical Geology", updated 12th edition, with Zumberge and Rutford. McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2005, 262 pp.

"The Nature of Lunar Soil: Considerations for Simulants", with Lawrence A. Taylor, David S. McKay, W. David Carrier III, and Paul Weiblen. Program with Abstracts, p. 46, Space Resources Roundtable VI, Colorado School of Mines, November 1-3, 2004.

"The First Late Cretaceous Articulated Gigantic Sauropod Neck", with D. W. Cogswell, J. M. Smith, and J. C. Stewart. Abstracts with Programs, 2000 National GSA Meeting, v. 32, n. 7, p. A-498, Reno, Nevada, November 13-16, 2000.

"JSC-1: A New Lunar Soil Simulant", with David S. McKay, Walter W. Boles, Carlton C. Allen, and Judith H. Allton, in Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space IV: Proceedings of Space 94, ed. by Rodney G. Galloway and Stanley Lokaj. American Society of Civil Engineering, N.Y (1994) 856-857.

"Lunar Material Resources: An Overview", in Space Resources, ed. by Mary Fae McKay, David S. McKay, and Michael B. Duke. NASA, Sp-509, v. 3, 19-49, 1992

"Lunar Regolith Fines: A Source of Hydrogen" in Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, ed. by W.W. Mendell. Houston, TX : Lunar and Planetary Institute, 1985, 571-581.

"Aspects of the Deep Crustal Evolution Beneath South Central New Mexico ", with E.R. Padovani, in The Earth's Crust: Its Nature and Physical Properties, ed. by J.G. Heacock. Geophysical Monograph Series, v. 20, pp. 19-55, AGU, Washington, DC, 1977.

"Non-equilibrium Partial Fusion due to Decompression and Thermal Effects in Crustal Xenoliths", with E.R. Padovani, in Magma Genesis: Proc. of the AGU Chapman Conf. on Partial Melting in the Earth's Upper Mantle, ed. by H.B.J. Dick. State of Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries Bulletin 96, pp. 43-57, 1977.

"Apollo 17: Comparative Chemistry of Olivines, Pyroxenes and Plagioclases from Regolith Samples 74220,87, 74241,40 and 75081,52", with H.C. Jim Taylor. Proceedings of the Fifth Lunar Science Conference, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v. 1, pp. 925-933, 1974.

"Apollo 17: Comparative Petrology of Fines from Tauras-Littrow", with H.C. Jim Taylor, in Lunar Science V. pp. 780-782, Lunar Science Institute, Houston, Texas, 1974.

"Chemistry and Surface Morphology of Soil Particles from Luna 20 LRL Sample 22003". Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v. 37, pp. 795-803, 1973.

"Genetic Implications of Some Unusual Particles in Apollo 16 less than l mm fines 68841,11 and 69941,13", with Elaine Padovani. Proceedings of the Fourth Lunar Science Conference, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v. 1, pp. 323-332, 1973.

"Morphology and Chemistry of VLS (Vapor-Liquid-Solid)-type Whisker Structures and Other Features on the Surface of Breccia 15015,36". Proceedings of the Fourth Lunar Science Conference, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v. 1, pp. 413-421, 1973.

"Metallic Mounds Produced by Reduction of Material of Simulated Lunar Composition and Implications on the Origin of Metallic Mounds on Lunar Glasses", with D. S. McKay. Proceedings of the Third Lunar Science Conference, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, Suppl. 3, v. 1, pp. 953-970, The M.I.T. Press, 1972.

"Chemistry and Surface Morphology of Fragments from Apollo 12 Soil". Proceedings of the Second Lunar Science Conference, 1, pp. 873-892, The M.I.T. Press, 1971.

"Influence of Target Temperature on Crater Morphology and Implications on the Origin of Craters on Lunar Glass Spheres", with David S. McKay. Proceedings of the Second Lunar Science Conference, 3, pp. 2653-2670, The M.I.T. Press, 1971.

"Mineralogy and Chemistry of the Earth's Upper Mantle Based on the Partial Fusion-Partial Crystallization Model". GSA, v. 81, no. 7, pp. 2021-2034, 1970.


2004, Distinguished Educator Award, Southwest Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists

1992, South Central Federation of Mineral Societies' Honorary Award winner for the AFMS Scholarship Foundation ($10,000 scholarships for students)

  • Updated: March 20, 2007