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Brenda B. Bowen

Brenda Bowen is smiling, wearing a dark blue suit jacket.

Professor, Geology & Geophysics
Chair, Atmospheric Sciences
Director, Global Change & Sustainability Center

Dr. Brenda Bowen is an interdisciplinary geoscientist whose work focuses on how changing environmental conditions influence the composition of sediments, authigenic minerals, and fluids in both modern dynamic systems and ancient lithified strata. Current projects are focused on anthropological impacts on modern surface and hydrological processes, sedimentology and geobiology in extreme environments, geologic CO2 sequestration, and structural diagenesis and fluid flow. In addition to her geologic research and teaching, Dr. Bowen works to facilitate interdisciplinary environmental research and education that address critical issues related to understanding global change and creating sustainable solutions.

Office: 251 FASB
Phone: (801) 585-5326

2005 Ph.D., Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah
2000 M.S., Earth Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
1998 B.S., Earth Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz

Research Statement:

My research contributes towards understanding physical and chemical processes in sedimentary systems. I am interested in the processes that create and modify ancient environmental records and provide signatures of changing conditions over time. Changing environmental conditions influence the composition of sediments, authigenic minerals, and fluids in both modern dynamic surface systems and ancient lithified strata. Sediments and the fluids that they come into contact with, provide geologic records that are influenced by the lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. My work explores these records and the relationships between environmental conditions, changes in surface and subsurface fluid chemistry (e.g., brines, groundwater, hydrocarbons, gasses), and sedimentary mineralogy and geochemistry. I seek to understand controls on fluid-sediment interactions on microscopic to regional scales, and to identify the affects of large-scale parameters such as depositional environment, climate, geochemical conditions, weathering, biological influences, tectonic evolution, burial history, and human-induced changes. These parameters impact the types of materials that compose detrital sediments, the mineralogy of authigenic minerals that form in-situ, and the geochemistry of pore and surface fluids. My research utilizes a wide range of field-based, computational, and lab based tools including imaging spectroscopy, fluid and sedimentary geochemistry, and petrography. My work is also very interdisciplinary, relying on collaborations with engineers, microbiologists, social scientists, planners, artists, and more.

My research is focused in the following areas:

  • Surface processes in modern extreme environments
    • Evolution of acid and saline systems
    • Interplay between biologic and geologic processes in extreme environments
  • Fluids and basin evolution
    • Provenance of detrital and authigenic sedimentary minerals
    • Structural diagenesis
  • Sustainable energy systems
    • Geologic CO2 sequestration
    • Energy and the environment
  • Anthropogenic impacts on the natural environment
    • Sustainability and stewardship of urban creeks
    • Community impacts on air quality