Stanford University
coral reef

Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment

Get Stanford Earth Matters stories delivered to your inbox each month.

Subscribe

About Stanford Earth Matters

Earthquake-damaged buildings

Research reveals fault geometry that forms Himalayas

Researchers have shed new light on the fault responsible for a 2015 earthquake that killed 9,000 people – information that will allow officials to better prepare for future shakers.

Kayak in water

How can citizens become agents of environmental change?

Some programs work better than others when it comes to involving citizens in preserving the environment. After reviewing those that worked, Stanford researchers propose a blueprint for how others can educate people to maximize their impact.

Farmers in rice paddy

Rice yields plummet and arsenic rises in future climate-soil scenarios

Research combining future climate conditions and arsenic-induced soil stresses predicts rice yields could decline about 40 percent by 2100, a loss that would impact about 2 billion people dependent on the global crop.

 2018 Woolsey fire

Californians unwilling to subsidize wildfire prevention

Despite statewide devastation from wildfires, a new poll conducted by the Bill Lane Center for the American West shows Californians are still reluctant to subsidize wildfire prevention or support relocating communities at risk.

gas meters.shutterstock

Q&A: Shortages amidst abundance: The paradox of natural gas

Many Americans are ambivalent about natural gas, which produces less carbon dioxide than oil or coal but results in emission of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas in the short term. Stanford experts weigh in on the subtleties of the issue. 

Abstract of colorful smoke

New catalyst can turn carbon dioxide into fuels

A new process shows promise in turning the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide back into usable fuels, and yields four times as much fuel as previous approaches.

Q&A: 30 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake

Reflecting on the 30th anniversary of Loma Prieta this week, earthquake experts recently shared their perspectives on how the event impacted them, the Bay Area and the research community at large.

Are we underestimating the benefits of investing in renewable energy?

Scientists have estimated the emissions intensity of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants from a major electricity distributor and highlighted key consequences – essential information for policymakers shaping decisions to reduce electricity system emissions.

Cartoon of people on phones

How does uncertainty in scientific predictions affect credibility?

The ways climate scientists explain their predictions about the impact of global warming can either promote or limit their persuasiveness. 

Bumblee bee

Interactive map shows nature’s contributions to people

The researchers set out to understand where nature contributes the most to people and how many people may be affected by future changes. By 2050, up to 5 billion people could be at higher risk of water pollution, coastal storms and underpollinated crops.

Submarine canyon

Global analysis of submarine canyons may shed light on Martian landscapes

On a map, submarine canyons seem identical to land canyons – so much so that researchers surmised they are shaped by the same physical laws. New research reveals distinct differences for the first time.

Pacific Ocean

Archaea hold clues to ancient ocean temperatures

Scientists at Stanford have identified molecules that tough microbes use to survive in warming waters, opening a window more broadly into studying conditions in ancient seas.

Wheat field

How can microsatellite data impact agricultural interventions?

New research finds small satellites can help increase food production in a low-cost and sustainable way.

Satellite view of the Earth

Could machine learning put impoverished communities back on the map?

By discerning patterns in satellite imagery, researchers hope to help national leaders and international agencies assist poverty-stricken regions.

Under pressure: Viewing how hydrogen transforms

Researchers have determined how hydrogen molecules are packed at extremely high pressures. Their work solves the long-standing mystery of the structure of the dense form of hydrogen, called phase IV. 

Electricity

Scientists finally find superconductivity in exactly the place they've been looking for decades

The Hubbard model, used to understand electron behavior in numerous quantum materials, now shows us its stripes, and superconductivity too, in simulations for cuprate superconductors.

Eagle

Stanford researchers discuss changes to Endangered Species Act

America’s signature legislation for saving species faces a major overhaul. Conservation and legal experts examine likely impacts of the new rules and legal options for challenging them.

Turmeric

Finding lead in turmeric

Some spice processors in Bangladesh use an industrial lead chromate pigment to imbue turmeric with a bright yellow color prized for curries and other traditional dishes, elevating blood lead levels in Bangladeshis.

Bahamas pier

Research suggests ecosystem investments to minimize storm damage

A new Stanford-led study provides information on how to invest in natural coastal ecosystems that the Bahamian government, community leaders and development banks are applying in post-disaster recovery and future storm preparation in the Bahamas. 

maillinkedindouble carrot leftarrow leftdouble carrotplayerinstagramclosecarrotquotefacebooktwitterplusminussearchmenuarrowcloudclock