Benjamin T. Cardenas


PhD, Geological Sciences                                                                          
expected May 2019

The University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences    
Dissertation: Controls on the Stratigraphy of Fluvial and Aeolian Deposits on Earth and Mars
Advisor: David Mohrig                                                                                       
GPA: 3.83/4.0

MS, Geological Sciences                                                                                   
Dec. 2014

The University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences          
Advisors: David Mohrig and Gary Kocurek                                                       
GPA: 3.87/4.0

BS, Geological Sciences & Mathematics minor                                               
Aug. 2012

The University of Texas at San Antonio                                            
Undergraduate Research Advisors: Hongjie Xie and Judy Haschenburger      
GPA: 3.31/4.0


Constraining and Interpreting 3-D Stratigraphy, Dynamics of Sedimentary Systems, Clastic Depositional Systems, Carbonate and Evaporite Depositional Systems, Siliciclastic Petrology, Stochastic Hydrology, Bedform Pattern Analysis, Planetary Geophysics, Calculus 1-3, Differential Equations 1-2, Linear Algebra



Interpreting ancient and modern fluvial & aeolian settings in the field and with remote sensing data

Office, Matlab, ArcGIS, USGS ISIS and NASA ASP, Kingdom Seismic Suite, Petrel, Photoshop and Illustrator

Experience as both a leader, collaborator, and TA of several group projects and field excursions

Teaching experience from 7 semesters as a Teaching Assistant

Graduate Student Mentor to two undergraduates performing original research

First Aid/CPR/AED certified until April 2020



University of Texas at Austin - Austin, TX                             
May 2012-current

Teaching Assistant - Austin, TX
7 semesters 

Intro to Field/Strat Methods, Field Camp, Constraining and Interpreting 3-D Stratigraphy                                 

Energy Exploration (2 semesters), Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, Sedimentary Rocks


Dissertation work: Fluvial stratigraphy of the Cedar Mtn. and Morrison Fms., Utah 

Dissertation work: Aeolian stratigraphy of the Page Sandstone, Arizona       

Architecture of the carbonate Todilto Fm. controlled by Entrada dune topography 
Spring 2017

Deep water stratigraphy of the Brushy Canyon Fm., Texas                                 
Fall 2014

Wave-driven erosion of the Texas Gulf Coast, Texas                                       

Geophysical field surveys of debris-covered glaciers, Absaroka Mts., Wyoming 
Summer 2015 & 2016


NASA/Mars Exploration Program Travel Grant to the Mars 2020 Landing Site Workshop, $1,000         
October 2018

NASA/Mars Exploration Program Travel Grant to the Fifth Planetary Dunes Workshop, $1,150                     
May 2017

Jackson School of Geosciences Seed Grant, $5,250                                 
January 2016

Jackson School of Geosciences Planetary Science Theme Scholarship     
January 2015

Jackson School of Geosciences Off-Campus Research Grant
May 2013

Jackson School of Geosciences Fellowship

Best Talk Award, Minority Opportunities for Research in Engineering and Science Colloquium, University of Texas at San Antonio
May 2012



Organizer of the Soft Rock Seminar, a weekly departmental brown bag

Graduate Student Representative for the Planetary Science Research Theme at the JSG                          




Swanson, T., Mohrig, D., Kocurek, G., Cardenas, B.T., Wolinsky, M.A. (Submitted to the Journal of Sedimentary Research), Preservation of autogenic processes and allogenic forcings within set-scale aeolian architecture I: numerical experiments.

Cardenas, B.T., G. Kocurek, D. Mohrig, T. Swanson, *C.M. Hughes, and S.C. Brothers (submitted to the Journal of Sedimentary Research), Preservation of autogenic processes and allogenic forcings within set-scale aeolian architecture II: the scour-fill dominated Jurassic Page Sandstone, Arizona, USA.

Cardenas, B.T., D. Mohrig, T.A. Goudge, *C.M. Hughes, J.S. Levy, T. Swanson, and J. Mason (in prep), Anatomy of an exhumed channel-belt.

*Hughes, C.M., B.T. Cardenas, T.A. Goudge, and D. Mohrig (2019) Deltaic Deposits Indicative of a Paleo-Coastline at Aeolis Dorsa, Mars. Icarus.

Kocurek, G., et al. including B.T.  Cardenas (2018) Antecedent aeolian dune topographic control on carbonate and evaporate facies: Jurassic Todilto Member, Wanakah Formation, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, USA, Sedimentology.

Cardenas, B.T., D. Mohrig, and T.A. Goudge (2018), Fluvial stratigraphy of valley fills at Aeolis Dorsa, Mars: Evidence for base-level fluctuations controlled by a downstream water body, GSA Bulletin.

Goudge, T.A., D. Mohrig, B.T. Cardenas, *C.M. Hughes, and C.I. Fassett (2018) Stratigraphy and Paleohydrology of Delta Channel Deposits, Jezero Crater, Mars, Icarus.

*Undergraduate mentee



The Anatomy of Exhumed River-Channel Belts, AGU 100, December 2018.

Testing the Preservation of River Channel Properties in Earth Analogs to Martian Fluvial Sinuous Ridges, LPSC 49, March 2018.

A Song of Air and Water, Invited Talk at Rice University Sedimentology Seminar, Houston, TX, Sep. 2017.

The Jurassic Page Sandstone: Coupling Aeolian Stratigraphic Architecture to Water Table and Sea Level Fluctuations, Fifth Planetary Dunes Workshop, St. George, Utah, May 2017.

Fluvial Stratigraphy at Aeolis Dorsa, Mars, Records Base Level Changes and Backwater Sedimentation Controlled by a Fluctuating Downstream Body of Water, LPSC 48, The Woodlands, TX, March 2017.



Microblogger for the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Woodlands, TX, March 2019.

Live television interview, "Water on Mars", Fox 7 Austin KTBC, Austin, TX, July 25, 2018.

Interview discussing analogs in planetary science, We Martians Podcast, Episode 39, 2018,

“Mars research finds evidence of vast bodies of water” by Sabrina Tran in the Daily Texan, Oct. 2017.

“Study of Martian sedimentary layers reveals more about the planet’s past” by Matt Williams in Universe Today, Sep. 2017.