Baylor University
Department of Geosciences
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Dr. John Dunbar

Contact Information
Dr. John Dunbar
Department of Geology
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97354
Waco TX 76798

Phone (254) 710-2191
Fax (254) 710-2673

Room E417, Baylor Sciences Building



• Geophysics

• Plate Tectonics

• Geodynamics


Ph.D., University of Texas - Austin, 1988

M. S., Virginia Tech, 1979

B. S., Virginia Tech, 1977


Dr. Dunbar joined Baylor in 1994 after ten years in the petroleum industry. From 1979 to 1984, Dr. Dunbar was involved in seismic acquisition research with ARCO Oil and Gas. His first assignment was to conduct a series of field experiments to access the application of shear wave reflection methods to delineating thin gas sands and fractured carbonate reservoirs. In 1982 he became the supervisor of the Marine Seismic Acquisition Research Group at ARCO. This group designed and tested new marine seismic sources and improved three-dimensional acquisition methods. In 1984 he entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation dealt with the mechanics of continental breakup and the subsidence of passive margins. This work included research cruises in the Gulf of Mexico and Bransfield Straight, Antarctica. After completing his Ph.D. in 1988, he joined the Basin Analysis Section of Shell Development Company. There he participated in studies involving the structural, stratigraphic and hydrologic evolution of sedimentary basins.


Dr. Dunbar's current research interests are in the development and application of the near surface geophysical methods in the study of water reservoirs, flood water retention structures, and coastal processes. As part of this work he has developed a new acoustic profiling system that provides enhanced images of the first few meters below the water bottom in shallow water environments. This system has been used to study the rate at which water reservoirs fill with sediment and to search for hurricane washover deposits in coastal lakes. In other work he and his students have used ground-penetrating radar to investigate the shallow stratigraphic record on Galveston Island, Texas to determine the nature of its Holocene evolution.

Selected Publications

Bennett, S.J. and J.A. Dunbar, Physical and stratigraphic characteristics of sediment impounded within a flood control reservoir, Oklahoma, Journal of Earth Surface Processes (In Press), November, 2002.

Dunbar, J.A., and R.W. Cook, Palinspastic reconstruction of map surfaces: An automated finite element approach with heterogeneous strain, Journal of Structural Geology, (In Press), September, 2002.

Bennett, S.J., C.M. Cooper, J.C. Ritchie, J.A. Dunbar, P.M. Allen, L.W. Caldwell, and T.M. McGee, Assessing sedimentation issues within aging flood control reservoirs in Oklahoma, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, v. 38, p. 1307-1322, 2002.

Dunbar, J.A., P. Allen, and P.D. Higley, Color-encoded multifrequency acoustic profiling for near-bottom studies, Geophysics, v. 65, p. 994-1002, 2000.

Abraham, J., P. M., Allen, J. A., Dunbar, S. I. Dworkin, Sediment type distribution in reservoirs: sediment source versus morphometry, Environment Geology. v. 38, p. 101-110, 1999.

Dunbar, J. A., P. Allen, and P. D. Higley, Multifrequency acoustic profiling for water reservoir sedimentation studies, Journal of Sediment Research. v. 69, p. 521-527, 1999.

Dunbar, J. A., L. Nordt, and J. Abraham, 1997, Ground-penetrating radar transect across the barrier flat of Galveston Island, Texas, Expanded Abstracts, Technical Program for the sixty seventh annual meeting of the SEG, Dallas Texas, p. 768-771.

Dunbar, J. A., J. G. Arnold, P. M. Allen, P. D. Higley, 1996, Prediction of sedimentation rates, Proceedings of the Sixth Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dunbar, J. A., and D. S. Sawyer, 1996, Three-dimensional dynamical model of continental rift propagation, J. Geophys. Res., v. 101, 27, 845-27, 863.

Dunbar, J. A., and D. S. Sawyer, 1989a, Patterns of continental extension along the conjugate margins of the Central and North Atlantic Oceans and the Labrador Sea, Tectonics, v. 8, 1059-1077.

McCormack, M. D., J. A. Dunbar, and W. W. Sharp, 1984, A Case Study of Stratigraphic Interpretation Using Shear and Compressional Seismic Data: Geophysics, v. 49, 509-520.

Subbottom acoustic profile from a water reservoir showing the top and base of the sediment fill.