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My research focuses on using advanced imaging, geochemistry, and numerical modeling methods to understand the mineral assemblage, diagenesis, porosity evolution, reactivity, and their impacts on fluid-flow in sedimentary rocks. I examine microstructures of rocks with scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), focus ion beam (FIB) SEM, and nano computed tomography (microCT). My specialties also include seismic and well-log interpretation. I have been involved in several regional studies including Appalachian basin, San Joaquin basin of California, and the North Slope of Alaska. 

Research Projects

1) Hydrogen and carbon geological storage in San Joaquin Basin of California


Collaborators: Benjamin Gilbert, Harrison Lisabeth, Adbullah Cihan, Yuxin Wu, Colette Flood, Laleh Coté, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Anthony Rathburn, Junhua Guy, Matthew Herman, Tathagata Acharya, CSUB


Research Grant: DOE BES RENEW, $2.25 Million, PI Song


This research examines and characterizes multiple caprocks to find subsurface targets for H2 and CO2 for long-term and secure storage. For both H2 and CO2 geologic storage, the caprock is a barrier seal above and around the reservoir that stops injected gases from leakage. The caprocks are typically shales, mudstones, anhydrite, or other low permeability rocks.


Shales, often considered condensed and impermeable, actually contain a large quantity of pores that are hosted by grains, clays, and organic matters. In addition, many reactive minerals are found widely dispersed in shales. When H2 or CO2 react with them, stored gas will be contaminated, and more importantly, caprock integrity will be affected. This project will study the fundamental mechanisms of buoyant fluid trapping by nanoporous caprocks and the coupled processes that could compromise gas storage.


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2) Mineral assemblages, diagenesis and porosity evolution of fine-grained sedimentary rocks 


Collaborators: Shuvajit Bhattacharya, Bureau of Economic Geology, the University of Texas at Austin

                          Tautis Skorka, University of Southern California

Research Grant: NSF MRI, $520,050, PI Song

Organic-rich mudrocks have shown great potential for hydrocarbon production, and they are considered as good target layers for CO2 sequestration because of their ability trapping gas within their finely dispersed clay minerals and organic matter in an adsorbed state. This study investigates the heterogeneity of mineral composition, grain assemblages, pore structures, and microscale sedimentary textural of these mudrock formations. It will facilitate a better understanding of the hydrocarbon potential and the storage capacity for CO2. This study will also investigate the mineral alternation resulting from interaction between mudrocks and carbon dioxide. 

The fundamental microstructural and geochemical properties of mudrocks present significant technical challenges due to their small size. Fine-grained mudrocks require high-resolution imaging to resolve the clay- and organic matter-hosted porosity, and to investigate the intricate mineral assemblages. Compared with other technologies, FE-SEM provides direct visual observation of the complex microstructure of mudrocks, which is a powerful tool for deciphering the heterogeneity of pore size and geometry and grain assemblage. 

















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3) Petrophysical properties of sedimentary rocks


This research utilizes well-logs to understand the petrophysical properties of reservoir rocks and the influence of fluid injection on groundwater quality. In addition, Dr. Song is leading a training program of Openhole Well-log Interpretation for CalGEM. 

Research Grants

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Basic Energy Sciences - Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (BES-RENEW) Program, Nanopore Characterization for H2 and CO2 Geologic Storage, 2023~2026, PI, $2,250,000.

National Science Foundation (NSF), Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program, Acquisition of a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope with EDS for Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching at California State University, Bakersfield, 2022 ~ 2024, PI, $520,050.


#California Energy Research Center (CERC) Interdisciplinary Energy Research Program: Evaluation of flow characteristics of CO2 in a sandstone core sample using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), 6/1/2021 ~ 8/20/2022, PI, $25,000. 

United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Award# 2020-70410-32907): Acquisition of a GC-TCD for Analyzing Agriculture-Derived Gases and Integrating Engineering with Natural Science in Research/Training/Extension, 9/1/2020 ~ 8/31/2021, co-PD, $60,583. 

American Chemical Society – Petroleum Research Fund#60423-UNI8: Three-dimensional Characterization of Sandstone Reservoirs using High-resolution X-ray Microtomography, 9/1/2019 ~ 8/31/2021, PI, $55,000.

#California Energy Research Center (CERC) Interdisciplinary Energy Research Program: Pore-scale Reservoir Modeling of Sandstones using Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulations, 6/1/2019 ~ 8/20/2020, PI, $34,000. 

Jon R. Withrow Named Grant (American Association of Petroleum Geologists Grants-in-Aid program), 2016, PI, $1,500. 

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