CO2 Coalition Members

Ganapathy Shanmugam

Ph.D. Geology


G. Shanmugam is a person of Indian origin. He was born in 1944 in Sirkazhi, Madras Presidency, British
India. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1970 and became a naturalized U. S. citizen in 1990. He has been
married to his American wife, Jean, since 1976. They live in Irving, Texas.

2000-Present: Adjunct Professor: the University of Texas at Arlington

2000-Present: Petroleum Consulting: Reliance, ONGC, China University of Petroleum in Qingdao,
Yangchang Oil Field in Yanan.

1978-2000: Employment with Mobil Research and Development Corporation, Dallas, Texas

2010-2011: Scientific Advisor: Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (RIPED)
of PetroChina, Beijing, China

Professional Preparation

1978: Ph.D., Geology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN., U.S.
1972: M.S., Geology, Ohio University, Athens, OH., U.S.
1968: M.Sc., Applied Geology, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT-Bombay, India
1965: B.Sc., Geology and Chemistry, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, South India

Note: He served as a research scholar under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR),
Government of India, at IIT Bombay during 1968–1970.

Philosophy and Publications

He is a pragmatic and an iconoclastic deep-water process sedimentologist. His primary contributions are
aimed at documenting the volumetric importance of sandy mass-transport deposits and bottom-current
reworked sands in deep-water petroleum reservoirs worldwide and at dispelling the popular myth that
most deep-water sands are turbidites.

Importantly, he debunked the myths of facies models on high-density turbidites (Shanmugam, 1996), tsunamites (Shanmugam, 2006b), landslides (Shanmugam, 2015), seismites (Shanmugam, 2016c), contourites (Shanmugam, 2016b, 2017b), hyperpycnites (Shanmugam, 2018a), and hybridites (Shanmugam, 2021b).

He has over 380 published works, including two volumes of Elsevier’s Handbook of Petroleum Exploration and Production (Shanmugam, 2006a and2012a) and their Chinese editions. His most recent Elsevier book “Mass Transport, Gravity Flows, and Bottom Currents” contains 540 case studies covering environments on Earth, Mars, and Jupiter, but with a majority on deep-water processes on Earth (Shanmugam, 2021a). His publications cover a wide spectrum of research domains, including:

  • deep-water process sedimentology (Shanmugam, 2000, 2019c, 2021c, 2022f),
  • submarine fans (Shanmugam, 2016a),
  • turbidite myths (Shanmugam, 2002a),
  • the Bouma Sequence and the turbidite mind set (Shanmugam, 1997),
  • Ouachita flysch (Shanmugam and Moiola. 1995),
  • flume experiments on sandy debris flows (Shanmugam, 2000; Marr et al., 2001),
  • flume experiments on mud erosion (Karcz and Shanmugam, 1974),
  • estuarine facies in Ecuador (Shanmugam et al., 2000),
  • fan deltas and braid deltas (McPherson, Shanmugam, and Moiola, 1987),
  • coniferous rainforests in New Zealand and source rock geochemistry (Shanmugam, 1985),
  • cyclones and tsunamis (Shanmugam, 2008a),
  • internal waves and tides (Shanmugam, 2013),
  • tidal currents in submarine canyons (Shanmugam, 2003; Shanmugam et al., 2009),
  • satellite survey of density plumes at river mouths (Shanmugam, 2018c),
  • seismicity and sediment deformation (Shanmugam, 2016c, 2017a,d) ,
  • erosional unconformities and porosity development (Shanmugam. 1988; Shanmugam and Higgins, 1988),
  • sequence stratigraphy (Shanmugam et al., 1995; Shanmugam, 2007),
  • manganese distribution in the carbonate fraction of shallow and deep marine lithofacies (Shanmugam and Benedict, 1983),
  • Appalachian foredeep tectonics (Shanmugam and Lash, 1982),
  • sedimentation in the Chile Trench (Shanmugam and McPherson, 1987),
  • late Holocene Rupture of the Northern San Andreas Fault and Possible Stress Linkage to the Cascadia Subduction Zone (Shanmugam, 2009a),
  • eustacy (Shanmugam and Moiola. 1982),
  • peer-review problem (Shanmugam, 2022g) , and
  • climate change (Shanmugam, 2022h; 2023a, b).

Awards, Recognition, and Nomination

  • 1968: IIT Medal for the top-ranking student in Applied Geology, Civil Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IITB), India.
  • 1995: Best paper award from NAPE (Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists) for his paper “Deepwater Exploration: Conceptual Models and their Uncertainties”
  • 2003: His paper ‘High-density turbidity currents: are they sandy debris flows?’ published in the Journal of Sedimentary Research in 1996, has achieved the status of the single most cited paper in sedimentological research published in three world-renowned periodicals - Journal of Sedimentary Research, Sedimentology, and Sedimentary Geology - during the survey period of 1996-2003 (Source: International Association of Sedimentologists Newsletter, August 2003).
  • He was interviewed by the SUN TV, Chennai, India (Televised on December 30th 2003) on his controversial research papers on turbidite sedimentation and their implications for petroleum reservoirs.
  • 2018: He was the recipient of the University of Tennessee College of Arts & Sciences 2018 Professional Achievement Award. Award Date: September 21, 2018. Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • 2018: He was also the recipient of FeTNA 2018 "Tamil American Pioneer Award" for his extraordinary professional achievements in academia. FeTNA: Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America. Award Date: June 30, 2018. Frisco, Texas.
  • 2020: He is the recipient of Springer Journal of Palaeogeography Special Prize for Excellent papers published during 2012-2018 based on Science Citation Index (SCI).
  • 2019-2021: He was nominated for the SEPM 2020 William F. Twenhofel Medal, which is the top
    award given every year for contributions in Sedimentary Geology.
  • 2022: Founding Member of the International Society of Palaeogeography (ISP), Beijing, China
  • 2023: CNKI/Thomson Reuters PCSI Stats: Top-1% most-highly cited publications for the period 2012-2022: “Submarine fans: A critical retrospective (1950-2015)”, J. of Palaeogeogr. (2016)
  • He is an Emeritus Member of SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology); member since 1970.

ResearchGate Stats on April 6, 2023
Reads: 173,853
Citations: 8,314
Recommendations: 438

1997 AAPG Annual Convention Debate Panelist, Dallas, Texas
Topic: Processes of Deep-Water Clastic Sedimentation and Their Reservoir Implications: What Can We
Moderator: H. E. Clifton.
Panelists: A.H. Bouma, J.E. Damuth, D.R. Lowe, G. Parker, and G. Shanmugam

He has published 38 discussions and replies.

Organizer of International Deep-Water Sandstone Workshops: 15

  • the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Scotland (1995 and 1997);
  • Petrobras, Mobil, and Unocal in Brazil and in Dallas, Texas (1998 and 1999);
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in India (2002 and 2004);
  • Reliance Industries Ltd. in India (2006–09);
  • Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (RIPED), PetroChina in Beijing
  • Yanchang Oilfield Exploration and Development, Research Institute of Yan’an Branch (China)
  • China University of Petroleum, Qingdao, China (2014).

Organizer of clastic facies field course (3 weeks) for Saudi Aramco, Dhaharan, Saudi Arabia:
1990 (3-21 November), Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia. Field area includes Qassim and vicinity. Modern
and anient deposits were investigated in the field. Seismic profiles, well logs, and cores from petroleumproducing fields were used in class exercises

International invited Lectures delivered (1980-2023): 90

2018-Present: Editorial Board

  • Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Palaeogeography (Springer)
  • Editorial Board Member of the Petroleum Exploration and Development (Elsevier).
  • Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Indian Association of Sedimentologists.

He conducted outcrop studies of deep-water deposits in the Southern Appalachians (Tennessee, United
States), Ouachita Mountains (Arkansas and Oklahoma, United States), and Peira Cava area (French
Maritime Alps, SE France). He described deep-water strata using conventional cores and outcrops (1:20
to 1:50 scale), which include 32 deepwater sandstone petroleum reservoirs worldwide, totaling over
10,000 m in cumulative thickness during 1974–2011.

He also conducted field studies of coal deposits in Victoria (Australia), coniferous rain forests in the
North Island (New Zealand), limestone karst in Guilin (China), fluvial deposits in Gujarat (India), 2004
Indian Ocean Tsunami-related coastal deposits in Tamil Nadu (India), shallow-marine deposits in Qassim
area (Saudi Arabia), and estuarine deposits in the Oriente Basin (Ecuador).


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