Ethan Grossman

Ethan Grossman

Professor and Michel T. Halbouty Chair

Co-Director, Stable Isotope Geosciences Facility

Stable isotope geochemistry, clumped isotopes, global change, paleoclimates, hydrogeochemistry

  (979) 845-0637

  Halbouty 210


Areas of Specialization

Global Change and Paleoclimates; Stable isotope geochemistry; Clumped isotopes; Biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology of aquifer systems

Recent Grants

  • National Science Foundation (EAR-1902469). Clumped isotope reordering kinetics in carbonate minerals: The key to accurate ocean paleotemperatures and basin thermal histories, 7/19-6/21, E.L. Grossman, S. Banerjee (CHEM), $340,620.
  • Seed Grants for Water Research, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and the College of Engineering. Development of a Low-cost Compact In-water Isotope Gas Sensing Instrument Deployable on Autonomous or Remote-Operated Underwater Vehicles, 9/17-8/18, Han, Lin, Roark, and Grossman, ($100,000; $10,000 for ELG).
  • Passport to the Caribbean past: Historical ecology of microgastropods, SENACYT (Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación), A. O'Dea, E. Grossman, J. Todd, F. Rodriguez, 3/1/17-2/28/19, $118,053 (TAMU ~$5,000).
  • Stable Isotope Partnership for Ecology, Environment, and Energy Research (SIPEEER), TAMUS Research Development Fund, E.L. Grossman, J. Vogel, E.B. Roark, T. Boutton, N. Slowey, J. West, A. Hyodo, co-PIs, 8/1/2016-7/31/2020, $1,040,000 (SIGF $507,506).


My research involves the development and application of geochemical techniques, especially oxygen and carbon isotope distributions, to a broad suite of geologic and societal problems: extreme climate in Earth history, linkages between the carbon cycle and climate, the thermal history of sedimentary (petroleum) basins, origin of groundwater methane, river dynamics and climate, and more. With so many problems in the Earth system resolvable via H, C, N, O, S, and clumped isotopes, the opportunities are unlimited.

Selected Publications

Recent (2017-2022)

* Graduate Students #Post-Docs

  • Grossman, E.L., and Joachimski, M.M., 2022. Ocean temperatures through the Phanerozoic Reassessed. Scientific Reports (pending acceptance [review process complete]).

  • Barney*, B., and Grossman, E.L., 2022. Reassessment of ocean paleotemperatures during the Late Ordovician. Geology (published online 2/11/22).

  • Figuerola#, B., Grossman, E.L., Lucey, N., Leonard, N.D., O'Dea, A., 2021. Millennial-scale change on a Caribbean reef system that experiences hypoxia.  Ecography, v. 44, p. 1270-1282.

  • Grossman, E.L., and Joachimski, M.M., 2020. Ch. 10. Oxygen isotope stratigraphy. In Gradstein, F.M., Ogg, J.G., Schmitz, M., and Ogg, G., eds., The Geologic Time Scale 2020, Elsevier, p. 279-307.

  • Legett*, S.A., Rasbury, E.T., Grossman, E.L., Hemming, N.G., and Penman, D.E., 2020. The brachiopod δ11B record across the Carboniferous-Permian climate transition. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 35, e2019PA003838. 10.1029/2019PA003838

  • Naylor*, H.N., #Defliese, W.F., Grossman, E.L., and Maupin, C.R., 2020. Investigation of the thermal history of the Delaware Basin (West Texas, USA) using carbonate clumped isotope thermometry. Basin Research, v. 32, p. 1140–1155.

  • Johnson*, D.L., Grossman, E.L., Webb, S.M., and Adkins, J., 2020. Brachiopod δ34SCAS microanalyses indicate a dynamic, climatically-influenced Permo-Carboniferous sulfur cycle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters , v. 546, p. 116428 //

  • Grossman, E.L., Robbins#, J.A, Rachello-Dolmen#, P., Tao*, K., Saxena*, D. and O’Dea, A., 2019. Freshwater input, upwelling, and the evolution of Caribbean coastal ecosystems during formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Geology, v. 47, p. 857–861.

  • Van Plantinga*, A.A., and Grossman, E.L., 2018. Stable and clumped isotope sclerochronologies of mussels from the Brazos River, Texas: environmental and ecologic proxy. Chemical Geology, v. 502, p. 55-65.

  • Henkes*, G.A., Passey, B.H., Grossman, E.L., Shenton*, B., Yancey, T.E., and Perez-Huerta, A., 2018. Temperature evolution and the oxygen isotope composition of Phanerozoic oceans from carbonate clumped isotope thermometry, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v. 490, p. 40-50.

  • Roark*, A., Flake*, R., Grossman, E.L., Olszewski, T., Lebold, J., Marcantonio, F., Thomas, D., Miller, B., Raymond, A., Yancey, T., 2017. Brachiopod geochemical records from across the Carboniferous seaways of North America: Evidence for salinity gradients, stratification, and circulation patterns. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 485, p. 136-153.

  • Graniero*, L.E., Grossman, E.L., Robbins, J.A., Morales, J., Thompson, R., and O’Dea, A., 2017, Conus shell δ13C values as proxies for δ13CDIC in tropical waters. Palaeogeog., Palaeoclim., Palaeoecol., v. 472, p. 119-127.

  • Van Plantinga*, Grossman, E.L. and Roark, E.B. 2017. Chemical and isotopic tracer evaluation of water mixing and evaporation in a dammed Texas river during drought. River Research and Applications, DOI: 10.1002/rra.3080.


  • Ph.D. (Geochemistry), University of Southern California, 1982, Stable Isotopes in Live Benthic Foraminifera from the Southern California Borderland (Teh-Lung Ku, thesis advisor)
  • B.S. (Geology; magna cum laude), State University of New York at Albany, 1976


  • Recognized as a 2021 "Exceptional Reviewer" for the GSA journal Geology
  • Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2018)
  • Co-author of paper receiving the Smithsonian Secretary's 2017 Research Award (O'Dea et al., 2016, Science Advances)
  • 2nd Place, Gordon I. Atwater Award for poster: Hendricks, Yancey, Flis, Flis, and Grossman, Formation of Barrel Concretions around Methane Seepage Pathways in Upper Middle Eocene Shelf Sediments, Stone City Bluff, Texas,” 2012 GCAGS Convention in Austin, TX (2012)
  • Awarded Michel T. Halbouty Chair in Geology (2010, renewed in 2015 and 2020)
  • Elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America (2007)
  • Dean's Distinguished Achievement Award for Faculty Research, College of Geosciences (2005)


Additional Information

Present and Former Students and Post-Docs (*current)

#- Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Student Research Award

Ph.D. (11): Bryce Barney*, Anindito Satrio Baskoro*, Horng-sheng Mii ('96, Professor and Vice President of General Affairs, National Taiwan Normal University), Christopher Romanek ('91, Research Professor, Furman University, Joyanto Routh ('98, Professor, Linköping University, Sweden), Josiah Strauss (’10, Neptronic Corp., Montreal), Zeyang Sun*, Kai Tao (’12), Alexander van Plantinga (’15, Air Liquide R&D), Ximeng Wang*, Chuanlun Zhang ('94, Chair Professor, Southern University of Science and Technology)

M.S. (20): David Adlis ('86, The Aerospace Corporation), Bryce Barney*, W. Cory Beck# (’04, Dominion Exploration and Production), Keith Bowers ('86), Melanie Brewer*, Judy Canova ('88, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control), B. Keith Coffman ('88, ConocoPhillips), Meagan Depugh (’19), Ryan Flake (’11, Exxon-Mobil), D. Keith Gentry ('06, Marathon Oil), Lauren Graniero (’14, Ph.D. candidate, UNC), David Katz ('97, Phillips Petroleum^), Takuro Kobashi# (’01, Renewable Energy Institute), Horng-sheng Mii ('92, National Taiwan Normal University), Howard “Nate” Naylor (’18), Andrew Roark (’15, Chevron), Jeannette Schlichenmeyer ('96, Roux Associates, Inc., Environmental Consulting and Management, Houston^), Brock Shenton (’14, Exxon-Mobil), Ronald Sprague, Huayu Wang ('98), Chuanlun Zhang ('89, Southern University, China)

^ - last known employer

Undergraduate theses (2): Jordan Noret (’08, Graduate student, SMU), Stephanie Wood (’11, Graduate student, University of Texas)

Post-docs/Visiting Scientists (8): Peter Bruckschen ('97, formerly of Ruhr University), William Defliese ’17-19, University of Queensland), Blanca Figuerola (’18-19; joint with Aaron O’Dea), Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta, D. Jeffrey Over ('91-92, SUNY College at Geneseo), Paola Rachello-Denmon (’15-16), John Robbins (’11-13, Southern Methodist University), Hideki Wada ('87, Shizuoka University), Yasheng Wu ('02-03, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing)

Update My Profile