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Stanford Earth Matters

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View from a satellite of smoke caused by a fire in Borneo

Satellite data can reveal fire susceptibility in peatlands

Fires in Southeast Asian peatlands release huge amounts of carbon, along with deadly smoke. Now, new satellite measurements of soil moisture may offer a promising approach to reducing those fires and their widespread haze.

Sengal river with people

Investigating obstacles to disease eradication

The realities of subsistence living in a region of Senegal hard hit by schistosomiasis make reinfection likely, despite mass drug administration. Stanford researchers find that engaging communities in the design of disease control programs could help.

Vintage film shows Thwaites Glacier ice shelf in Antarctica melting faster than previously observed

Newly available archival film has revealed the eastern ice shelf of Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is melting faster than previous estimates, suggesting the shelf may collapse sooner than expected.

Wildire

Native approaches to fire management could revitalize communities

In collaboration with tribes in Northern California, researchers examined traditional fire management practices and found that these approaches, if expanded, could strengthen cultures and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

Ocean

The case for managed retreat

Katharine Mach and Miyuki Hino make the case for managed retreat for vulnerable communities in the face of climate change.

Olympic National Park

Researchers explain earthquakes we can’t feel

Researchers have explained mysterious slow-moving earthquakes known as slow slip events with the help of computer simulations. The answer, they learned, is in rocks’ pores.

Downtown Dallas

Many Dallas-Fort Worth area faults have potential to host earthquakes

Researchers have mapped more than 250 faults and found that the majority of faults underlying the Fort Worth Basin are susceptible to earthquakes, some of which extend under highly populated areas in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

Surface meltwater on Greenland Glacier

Researchers discover more than 50 lakes beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet

Researchers have discovered 56 previously uncharted subglacial lakes beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, contributing to our understanding of how the ice sheet will likely respond dynamically to rising temperatures.

2015 Nepal earthquake offers clues about hazards

Stanford geophysicist Simon Klemperer discusses how the 2015 Gorkha earthquake that shook Kathmandu, Nepal gave researchers new information about where, why and how earthquakes occur.

Woolsey wildfire in 2018

What to expect from wildfire season this year and in the future

The new normal for Western wildfires is abnormal, with increasingly bigger and more destructive blazes. Understanding the risks can help communities avert disaster.

Wildfire

Wildfire smoke worse for kids' health than smoke from controlled burns

Immune markers and pollutant levels in the blood indicate wildfire smoke may be more harmful to children’s health than smoke from a controlled burn, Stanford researchers found.

Geothermal

Lessons from Pohang: Solving geothermal energy's earthquake problem

A geothermal project triggered a damaging earthquake in 2017. A new analysis suggests flaws in some of the most common ways of trying to minimize the risk of such quakes when harnessing the Earth's heat for energy.

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.

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.  

Sendai

Q&A: Designing a better local tsunami warning system

New research outlines a more accurate and consistent way to warn coastal residents when and where tsunami waves are likely to hit. 

2018

Editor's picks: Top 10 stories of 2018

From revelations about the hidden messages in burbling lakes of lava to the staggering costs of runaway climate change, these 10 stories shed light on our planet and how we're changing it. They include our editor's picks and some our best-read stories for the year.

Seismograph

Data helps us prepare for 'The Big One'

Data is reshaping our knowledge about many things, including earthquakes: how we measure them, what causes them and how we can better prepare for them.

Wildfire smoke

Wildfires destroying California bring questions about health and climate

California’s wildfires have destroyed homes and communities, and even people hundreds of miles away are feeling the effects of smoke. Stanford faculty weigh in on the health effects and increasing frequency of fires.

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