• Christopher J. Lombardi

Chris passed unexpectedly on Nov. 29, 2016 and will be posthumously awarded his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Rutgers University in May 2017.

Chris had been working with the New Jersey contingent of the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) for the past 4 years as a graduate student at Rutgers University. He made great strides in the correlation of chronostratigraphy of Mid-Atlantic offshore formations that are being evaluated for carbon storage opportunities. Specifically, his work on the Great Stone Dome and adjacent areas shows that sands targeted for carbon storage are bracketed by sequence boundaries, provided increased confidence in their continuity and seals. “Three sequence boundaries are identified by abrupt shifts between nearshore and neritic facies of the Mississauga and Logan Canyon Equivalents as recognized in well logs. These roughly separate Aptian-Albian, Albian, earliest Cenomanian, and later Cenomanian units that were deposited in progressively deeper water. An older Barremian or Aptian unconformity, possibly a sequence boundary, was previously identified by conventional core and kerogen analysis in the unpublished drilling results.” Lombardi et al. (2016).


Geological Context

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) in geologic reservoirs is an important strategy for reducing anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Onshore geological storage, particularly in regions unaccustomed to hydrocarbon extraction, is complicated by local concerns (“Not Under MY Backyard”). Offshore deeply buried (3,000-10,000 ft) saline reservoirs, particularly on the Mid-Atlantic U.S. margin, provide large storage volumes, high permeabilities for injection, excellent trapping uncomplicated by hydrocarbon exploration wells, and geotechnical characteristics that obviate earthquake stimulation. Chris Lombardi led efforts to evaluate offshore carbon storage focusing in on the Great Stone Dome and the Outer Continental Shelf of the northern Baltimore Canyon Trough. He showed that the Great Stone Dome structure contains excellent reservoirs and traps from which all hydrocarbons have been ventilated. He estimated that as much as 5.9 Gt of CO2 could be stored in the targeted Logan Canyon Sands on this structure (Lombardi et al., 2016). Chris represented Rutgers at the annual MRCSP meeting in November where he presented onshore results (Miller et al., in review) and his new results from the northern Baltimore Canyon Trough, including his innovative looks at biostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, and sequence stratigraphy (Lombardi et al., in prep.) and well log sequence stratigraphy (to be incorporated in Miller et al., in prep.). Prior to his untimely death, numerous comments were made by participants about how he was developing into a leader of the field of geological carbon storage, particularly in offshore settings. Though his coauthors will endeavor to bring his work to light in completing publications, his loss is a loss to the entire field.

Lombardi, C.J., Miller, K.G., and Mountain, G.S., 2016, Carbon storage potential at the Great Stone Dome, northern Baltimore Canyon Trough: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs: v. 48, n. 7, doi: 10.1130/abs/2016AM-284924.

Lombardi, C.J, Miller, K.G, McLaughlin, P.P., and Browning, J.V., Revised age constraints for Barremian to Cenomanian sequences, offshore U.S. mid-Atlantic margin, Geosphere, in prep.

Miller, K.G., Browning, J.V., Lombardi, C., and Mountain, G.S., Back to basics of sequence stratigraphy: Early Miocene and Mid Cretaceous examples, Stratigraphy & Timescales v. 2.

Miller, K.G., Browning, J.V., Sugarman, P.J., Monteverde, Andreasen, D.C., Lombardi, C., Thornburg, J, Reinfelder, Y., and Kopp, RE., Lower to mid-Cretaceous sequence stratigraphy and characterization of CO2 storage potential in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. Coastal Plain, J. Sed. Res. (submitted 21 Nov. 2016).



Specific Examples of Lombardi’s work

Chris recognized that display of well log data could be significantly enhanced. He initially used the program Petrel to show gray-scale patterns in previously studied gamma logs from the Baltimore Canyon Trough. Recognizing that these patterns illustrated stacking patterns (trends vertically) he worked to develop more user-friendly applications of these trends, illustrating them in Excel. His presentation to the MRCSP in November 2016 and his Geological Society of America poster (see Figure) are masterpieces in showing that a proper display of well log data can reveal previously unrecognized patterns.



Photo gallery



Remembrances from colleagues

The Maryland Geological Survey and I, personally, extend our sympathies to the Lombardi family. Chris, indeed, was a rising, soft-spoken star and he will surely be missed. I spoke with him at our November 2nd meeting where I remember leaving feeling refreshed that he truly cared, carried passion, and yearned for additional geologic knowledge.

Our thoughts and prayers will be with his young family and his friends.

Richard Ortt

Maryland Geological Survey Director


I’m so sorry to hear about Chris. I’m sure he was a bright spot in Rutgers research family. He did indeed give an excellent presentation with both professionalism and humor at the MRCSP meeting in November and I had spoken with him about working on a regional cross section with all of the current work your group has done. I will be thinking of his family and all of you at Rutgers and wish you all the best in this difficult time.

Philip Dinterman

Senior Petroleum Geologist

West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey


I am shocked and terribly saddened by this news! I spoke with Chris about his research work after the meetings in Columbus, and was looking forward to lots of further interactions with him.

Charlotte Sullivan

Research Assistant Professor

Pacific Northwest National Laboratories


What very sad news and a terrible loss this is. Chris obviously has played a central role in the geological interpretation for the offshore CO2 geology projects, and his scientific contributions will be sorely missed. But, beyond that, Chris was a sincerely nice person who was always a pleasure to talk to and work with. I am happy that I had the chance to get know him over the last few years and am sure he made the world a better place with his cheerful spirit.

His wife, daughter, and family and the Rutgers geology community are in my thoughts in this sad time.

Peter McLaughlin

Senior Scientist

Delaware Geological Survey, University of Delaware


I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of Chris Lombardi. I enjoyed getting to know Chris through our current project with Battelle. His contributions to that team, as I'm sure to yours at Rutgers, will be sincerely missed. I will be thinking about Chris's family and his friends and colleagues at Rutgers over the coming weeks.

Angela Slagle

Associate Research Scientist

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


This is indeed very sad and shocking news for all of us at Battelle. I have observed Chris’s for a number of years under MRCSP and the Offshore project and have always been very impressed with his dedication, preparedness, and contribution. Having worked with a large number of graduate students on our programs, he was clearly among the top few contributors. As a person too, he has always been collaborative, pleasant, and willing to help out. I hope you will be able to convey our sense of sadness and gratitude to Chris’s family. If there is anything we can do here to support, please let me know.

With condolences and sadness.

Neeraj Gupta

Battelle Fellow/Senior Research Leader



My condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the Lombardi family, your research group and the Rutgers Geoscience community at this sad time. Chris was smart, pleasant and enthusiastic. It was a pleasure to work with him these past few months. He will be sorely missed.

Mojisola KunleDare

Research Associate I

Delaware Geological Survey, University of Delaware


So heartbreaking. My thoughts are with his family.

David Goldberg

Research Professor

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


This is such tragic news—I am still unable to process its magnitude, and cannot imagine what a blow this must be to Chris’ close family and friends. My sympathies go out to all of you.

The MRCSP community is a small one, but so is the Cretaceous sequence stratigraphy community (perhaps even more so).  And not only did Chris work in the space, he thrived in it.  I always enjoyed hearing about progress on his dissertation research, and it always—without fail—made me recognize connections with my own PhD research in the Carolinas.  He had a bright future ahead of him, which makes this news all the harder to bear.

Chris will be remembered fondly by his colleagues at the West Virginia Geological Survey, and please do not hesitate to reach out if there’s ever anything we can do to lessen the impact of his loss.

Jessica Pierson Moore

Program Manager, Applied Oil and Gas

West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey


What a sad news!

Please express to Chris’ family and all people I know in the lab my deepest sympathy of the occasion of this unexpected terrible loss.

Chris was a such clever guy! Everybody here has a very good memory of him!

This was a great pleasure to work with him (a too short time I must add!)

He made a very beautiful job here and his work on the Wilson Lake core is remarkable!

It is a pity it was not already published!

Christian Dupuis

Full Professor, Scientific Consultant

Department of Geology and Applied Geology

Université de Mons, Belgium


This is terrible terrible news.  We are so sorry to hear about Chris.  Please pass along our condolences to his wife, and let her know he was always a pleasure to interview, and he is someone we both remember.

Alicia Kahn

Biostratigrapher, Chevron Energy Technology Company

Chadwick Holmes

Seismic Stratigraphic Interpretation

Chevron Energy Technology Company


We people in the Anthropology Department were shocked to hear of the sudden and unexpected passing of Chris Lombardi. He received his undergraduate degree in Evolutionary Anthropology, so a number of the faculty here knew him quite well, and were saddened to hear of his loss. Professors Robert Trivers, Carmel Schrire, Ryne Palombit, and I all remember him as an eager and dynamic student. We were happy that he continued his graduate career at Rutgers with our geology colleagues, and now we mourn his loss with members of the geology department. 

Susan Cachel 

Executive Board, Department of Anthropology

Center for Human Evolutionary Studies 

Rutgers University


Chris was such a fine young man. During the past five years, I got to watch him mature as a scientist becoming an accomplished graduate student. Chris was careful and precise, and knew his subject-matter extremely well. He was also creative and innovative and incredibly hard-working. Despite these traits, he was modest, never self-promoting. What a gem of a person! Chris was liked and admired by faculty, current graduate students, former graduate students, and undergrads. I know that my former graduate students were shocked and greatly saddened by the loss of Chris. He will be missed!

Martha Withjack


Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University


I am very sorry for Chris's loss. I still can't believe it. He was such a great person. Always friendly, always kind.. It was a pleasure for me working with him in the lab, core repository and drill sites. He was very hardworking, dedicated, and helpful. I will miss him.

My sincere condolences

Selen Esmeray-Senlet

Earth Scientist, Chevron Energy Technology Company

Former Ph.D. student at Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University


Chris was one of the people I was very close with. We have had a lot of memories during my times at Rutgers. He has always been kind and friendly to all of us, especially to me and Weimin. I enjoyed every single moment we spent together and appreciated his frıendship.

Fırat Göçmenoğlu

Turkish Petroleum Corporation

Former M.S. student at Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University


I am terribly sorry to hear Chris' sudden pass.. I had the chance to know him for a little time. He was starting while I was trying to finish up. He was such a decent and kind guy, always smiling. My deep condolences to his wife, daughter and EPS family.

Zuhal Şeker-Karakaya

Turkish Petroleum Corporation

Former M.S. student at Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University


Chris and I spent more than 2 years together at Rutgers. We spent many times by taking the same courses, preparing presentations, going to the field trips, etc. What I remember about him is that he was always friendly, kind and hardworking. Also, he had a great sense of humor that everyone around him knew quite well. I know anybody who got a chance to meet Chris feels the same good thoughts about him. My thoughts are with his family."

Tuçe Değirmençi Sezer

Turkish Petroleum Corporation

Former M.S. student at Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University


Chris was one of the students in the first course I taught when I came to Rutgers almost six years ago, and I had opportunities to work with him off and on throughout almost the entire time I’ve been at Rutgers. He was always kind and excited by his science. He will be missed; my thoughts are with Ashley, Amelia, and his entire family.

Bob Kopp

Associate Professor

Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers