David F. Boutt
SOCORRO, N.M., February 11, 2003 -- David F. Boutt, a doctoral candidate in New Mexico Tech's nationally renowned hydrology program, recently was named the 2002-2003 recipient of the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) Horton Research Grant.

The Horton Research Grant, named in honor of Robert Elmer Horton (considered by many to be the father of modern hydrology), was established to provide financial support to Ph.D. candidates involved with hydrology or water resources research projects.

Boutt was selected for the prestigious award from a field of several top science and engineering doctoral candidates from around the world on the basis of his demonstrated academic excellence and research work.

Boutt's current research for his doctoral dissertation examines the role of fluids in the mechanics of the Earth's shallow crust, with particular emphases on temporal and spatial scales of fluid transport and the mitigation of fluid pressures in the subsurface.

"My research work has implications to the genesis of fractures in the subsurface, along with any type of strain localization, such as fault zones," he explains.

Boutt, who earned both his bachelor and master's degrees at Michigan State University, currently works as a laboratory associate in the New Mexico Tech Rock Mechanics Laboratory, measuring rock mechanical and fluid-flow properties, and also as a student intern at Sandia National Laboratories.

"My work at Sandia Labs roughly overlaps with my dissertation work, with the additional wrinkle that we are investigating the coupled fluid-solid mechanics of near well-bore regions in oil and gas wells," Boutt relates.

This spring semester, Boutt is co-teaching a graduate-level course at New Mexico Tech, titled "Hydrogeologic Processes," along with Tech hydrology professor Fred Phillips.

Boutt currently is a student member of both the AGU and the Geological Society of America.

In addition, he also has been active in the New Mexico Tech Graduate Student Association, having served the last two years as the association's secretary.

"New Mexico Tech is a great place for graduate studies," Boutt says. "There are so many people doing great research here; and, it is hard not to get excited about your own research. Together with the outstanding number of opportunities for grad students, the excellent and enthusiastic faculty make Tech a first-rate institution."