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Stanford Earth Matters

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

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About Stanford Earth Matters magazine

Kilauea ash

What can machine learning tell us about the solid Earth?

Scientists are training machine learning algorithms to help shed light on earthquake hazards, volcanic eruptions, groundwater flow and longstanding mysteries about what goes on beneath the Earth’s surface.

Red

Researchers watch shock waves travel through silicon

A new technique involving pulses of ultrafast, high-power lasers has allowed scientists to see how silicon, an abundant element in Earth's crust, changes under intense pressure.

Baiae

Volcanoes, archaeology and the secrets of Roman concrete

Geophysical processes have shaped Pozzuoli, Italy, like few other places in the world. Stanford students applied modern tools to understand those links and what it means to live with natural hazards as both threat and inspiration.

Frozen Lake Michigan

Polar vortex: The science behind the cold

Atmospheric scientist Aditi Sheshadri discusses how the polar vortex works, what drives its behavior and why it seems to bring storms and bitter cold more frequently than in past decades.  

Divers collecting coral sample.

Q&A: Corals reveal patterns in past weather events

A Stanford researcher weighs in on how reconstructing past weather events using coral reefs can help demystify the complex phenomenon known as El Niño.

Forest in Alaska.

Ecologist finds optimism in Alaskan forests

In her new book, Lauren Oakes explores a journey of loss, adaptation and resilience to climate change.

Catalina Island

What a sinking island can tell us about sea-level change and earthquakes

A new analysis of marine fossils and seismic data offers keys to better modeling of global sea levels and earthquake risk in Southern California – plus the last word in a century-long debate over the motion of Catalina Island.

Sonoran Desert

A path to affordable, effective conservation

A new study supports the long-debated idea that all species – even highly mobile animals – are clustered together in geographically unique areas, and opens a path to better protection of little-known species.

Meltwater stream on glacier in Greenland

Scientists find missing piece in glacier melt predictions

A new method for observing water within ice has revealed stored meltwater that may explain the complex flow behavior of some Greenland glaciers, an important component for predicting sea-level rise in a changing climate.

Christchurch

After the Big One: Understanding aftershock risk

Geophysicist Gregory Beroza discusses the culprits behind destructive aftershocks and why scientists are harnessing artificial intelligence to gain new insights into earthquake risks.

Oil field

Cash, carbon, crude: How to make oil fields bury emissions

A new analysis looks at what it would take for oil companies to start pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into their wells to boost crude production – and what it would mean for the climate.

Arctic

Finding the pulse of the polar vortex

A new analysis of how air moves between two layers of Earth’s atmosphere reveals a deep system that could enable long-term weather forecasts and better climate models.

Mount Sinabung

Learning through sound

The audible world contains vast amounts of information about the world around us. Scholars from across Stanford are exploring this invisible landscape as a research tool and as a way of understanding each other.

Seaside book

Summer reading: Illuminating our relationship with the planet

Faculty at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences recommend these 31 books for your summer reading. 

Fuego Volcano

Beyond lava and ash: What makes volcanoes dangerous?

Recent eruptions offer reminders that lava, ash and size don’t fully explain how volcanoes become deadly. Geologists Gail Mahood and Donald Lowe describe some of the science and mysteries behind volcanic hazards. 

Cracked earth

Study casts doubt on the predictive value of earthquake foreshocks

Do tiny underground tremors provide clues that a big earthquake is coming? A new study suggests foreshocks are just like other small quakes, not helpful warning signs as previously thought.

East Rift Zone

Geothermal at the foot of Kilauea

Geothermal engineer Roland Horne discusses geothermal energy in the face of natural hazards and a way to tap the earth’s heat far from volcanoes in the future.

Lava lake

Understanding Kilauea: A different flavor of volcano

Geophysicist and volcanologist Paul Segall describes Hawaii's most active volcano and the science behind the latest eruptions.

shiny metal

Tiny Diamond Anvils Trigger Chemical Reactions

Experiments with 'molecular anvils' mark an important advance for mechanochemistry, which has the potential to make chemistry greener and more precise

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