Lauren Birgenheier

Associate Professor


Phone: 801-585-3158
Fax: 801-585-3540

Sequence Stratigraphy

Sedimentary Geology


Conventional and Unconventional Reservoir Characterization

Ph.D. in Geoscience (geology specialization), University of Nebraska-Lincoln

B.A. in Geology (with distinctions), Colorado College, Colorado Springs



  • American Association of petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

  • Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG)

  • International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS)

  • Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM)

  • Geological Society of America (GSA)

2008 Myerly-Martin Prize for excellence in Graduate Research: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Geosciences

2007 Geological Society of America Coal Division Best Paper at 2006 GSA Annual Conference

Corbett, M.J., Fielding, C.R., Birgenheier, L.P., 2011, Stratigraphy of a Cretaceous coastal plain fluvial succession: The Campanian Masuk Formation, Henry Mountains Syncline, Utah, Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 81, p. 80-96.

Fielding, C.R., Antia, J., Birgenheier, L.P., Corbett, M.J., 2010. A field guide to the Cretaceous succession of the western Henry Mountains Syncline, south-central Utah, in Carney, S.M., Tabet, D.E., and Johnson, C.L., eds., Geology of South-Central Utah, Utah Geological Association Publication 39.

Birgenheier, L.P., Frank, T.D., Fielding, C.R., Rygel, M.C., 2010, Coupled carbon isotopic and sedimentologic records from the Permian system of eastern Australia reveal the response of atmospheric carbon dioxide to glacial growth and decay during the late Palaeozoic ice age, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 286, p. 178-193.

Birgenheier, L.P., Fielding, C.R., Corbett, M.J., Kesler, C., 2009, Sequence stratigraphic assessment of the Muley Canyon Sandstone and Masuk Formation, Henry Mountains Syncline: Implications for understanding the Muley Canyon Coal Zone, Utah Geological Survey Open File Report 557.

Birgenheier, L.P., Fielding, C.R., Rygel, M.C., Frank, T.D., Roberts, J., 2009, Evidence for dynamic climate change on sub-106-yr scales from the late Paleozoic glacial record, Tamworth Belt, New South Wales, Australia, Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 79, p. 56-82.

Frank, T.D., Birgenheier, L.P., Montanez, I.P., Fielding, C.R., Rygel, M.C., 2008, Late Paleozoic climate dynamics revealed by comparison of ice-proximal stratigraphic and ice-distal isotopic records, in Fielding, C.R., Frank, T.D., Isbell, J.L., eds., Resolving the Late Paleozoic Ice Age in Time and Space, Geological Society of America Special Paper 441, p. 331-342.

Rygel, M.C., Fielding, C.R., Bann, K., Frank, T.D., Birgenheier, L., & Tye, S.C., 2008, The early Permian Wasp Head Formation, Sydney Basin, High-latitude shallow marine sedimentation following the late Asselian-early Sakmarian glacial event in eastern Australia, Sedimentology, v. 55, 1517-1540.

Rygel, M.C., Fielding, C.R., Frank, T.D., Birgenheier, L.P., 2008, The magnitude of late Paleozoic glacioeustatic fluctuations: a synthesis, Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 78, p. 500-511.

Fielding, C.R., Frank, T.D., Birgenheier, L.P., Rygel, M.C., Jones, A.T., Roberts, J., 2008, Alternating glacial and non-glacial intervals characterize the late Paleozoic Gondwanan Ice Age: stratigraphic evidence from eastern Australia, Journal of the Geologocial Society of London, v. 165, p.129-140.

Birgenheier, L.P., 2007, A sedimentologic, stratigraphic, and geochemical study of the late Paleozoic ice age, eastern Australia, Ph.D. thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 263p.

Montanez, I.P., Tabor, N.J., Niemeier, D., DiMichele, W.A., Frank, T.R., Fielding, C.R., Isbell, J.L., Birgenheier, L.P., Rygel, M.C., 2007, CO2-forced climate instability and linkages to tropical vegetation during late Paleozoic deglaciation, Science, v. 315, p. 87-91.

Myrow, P.M., Tice, L.*, Archuleta, B., Clark, B., Taylor, J.F., & Ripperdan, R.L, 2004, Flat-pebble conglomerate: its multiple origins and relationship to meter-scale depositional cycles. Sedimentology, v. 51, p. 973-996.

Research Interests

  • Sequence stratigraphy
  • Sedimentary geology
  • Geochemistry
  • Conventional and unconventional reservoir characterization

Dr. Birgenheier is an Associate Professor specializing in sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy, and geochemistry as applied to unconventional reservoir characterization. She joined EGI in 2008, and for the last 12 years has been in the Department of Geology & Geophysics.

She completed her Ph.D. in 2007 at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, focused on resolving the sedimentologic, stratigraphic, and geochemical record of the late Paleozoic ice age of eastern Australia. She received her B.A. in geology from Colorado College in 2002.

Dr. Birgenheier has several active interdisciplinary research projects focused on shales.

Mancos Shale

Dr. Birgenheier is the Principal Investigator of the University of Utah team of a current RPSEA (Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America) funded project – Cretaceous Mancos Shale, Uinta Basin, Utah: Resource Potential and Best Practices for an Emerging Shale Gas Play, awarded to the Utah Geological Survey in partnership with the University of Utah and Halliburton. The project uses an integrated geologicgeophysics-engineering approach to identify horizontal targets, model, and provide best stimulation and completion practices for the emerging Mancos Shale gas play in the Uinta Basin.

Green River Formation

Another current project aims to develop a sequence stratigraphic model of the Green River Formation in the Uinta Basin, to be used towards understanding the evolution of lacustrine systems, depositional controls, and more effective oil shale and shale oil development in the basin. More broadly, this ancient lacustrine system is an analogue, aspects of which can be applied to lacustrine petroleum systems worldwide.

Additional research interests

Dr. Birgenheier’s research lies at the intersection of sedimentary geology and geochemistry, with emphasis on sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy, specifically in fluvial, paralic, shallow marine, and lacustrine systems. Lauren is particularly interested in understanding the depositional controls on facies heterogeneity and stratigraphic stacking patterns in mud-dominated systems or shales. Lauren believes strongly in integrating our sedimentary and geochemical investigations with other disciplines; specifically 3-D seismic analysis, geomechanics, and production engineering, in order to address key unconventional resource exploration and production challenges.

For more information about Lauren’s research: