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Stanford Earth Matters

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

Summit of Villarica volcano

Stanford scientists eavesdrop on volcanic rumblings to forecast eruptions

Sound waves generated by burbling lakes of lava atop some volcanoes point to greater odds of magmatic outbursts. This finding could provide advance warning to people who live near active volcanoes.

oil wells against a sunset

New map profiles induced earthquake risk for West Texas, New Mexico

A seismic stress map created by Stanford geophysicists can help predict which parts of West Texas and New Mexico may be at risk of fracking-induced earthquakes. The map could guide oil discovery efforts in the region.

Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica

Interacting Antarctic glaciers may cause faster melt and sea level contributions

Two of the most rapidly changing glaciers in Antarctica, which are leading contributors to sea-level rise, may behave as an interacting system rather than separate entities, according to a new analysis of radar data.

2017

Top 10 Stanford Earth research stories of 2017

From laying the groundwork for a billion-sensor quake network to finding lithium deposits around supervolcanoes, these were our favorite research stories of 2017.

drill rig in Fayetteville Shale gas play in Arkansas

Small earthquakes at fracking sites may be early indicators of bigger tremors to come

Tiny tremors caused by hydraulic fracturing of natural gas near the surface could be early signs of stressful conditions deep underground that could destabilize faults and trigger larger earthquakes.

fire in a conifer-dominated forest

More frequent fires slow plant regrowth

Long-term effects of repeated fires on soils found to have significant impacts on carbon storage not previously considered in global greenhouse gas estimates.

Greg Beroza showing off earthquake data.

21st-century Earth science is computer intensive and data driven

If asked to imagine a geologist, you might envision a tanned and dusty figure, hardy and weathered like the ancient rocks that he or she spends days studying out “in the field."

rising sea levels illustration

​Jenny Suckale: A Better Plan B for Managing Disasters

Stanford’s Russ Altman and Jenny Suckale explore how society can better prepare for a future with more frequent and more dangerous storms.
Fiber optic cable.

Building a ‘billion sensors’ earthquake observatory with optical fibers

The same optical fibers that deliver high-speed internet and HD video to our homes could one day double as seismic sensors for monitoring and studying earthquakes.

earthquake illustration

Manmade and natural earthquakes not so different after all

New research shows manmade and naturally occurring earthquakes in the central U.S. share the same characteristics, information that will help scientists predict and mitigate damage from future earthquakes.

Dustin Schroeder stands in front of airplane in Antarctica

Frozen secrets: Geophysicist explores glaciers with radar

Stanford Earth’s Dustin Schroeder researches new ways of observing, understanding, and predicting the configuration of ice sheets using ice-penetrating radar data.

floodwaters beneath a bridge

When bridges collapse

Studying how and why bridges have collapsed in the past identifies the limitation of current risk assessment approach and demonstrates the value of new perspectives on climate change impact.

Ocean during storm.

Testing the links between extreme weather and climate change

A new four-step “framework” aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.

Map

Heavy California rains par for the course for climate change

Stanford climatologist Noah Diffenbaugh explains why heavy rains during a drought are to be expected for a state in the throes of climate change.

Graphic of biology.

Are we in a "Sixth Extinction"?

Stanford Earth professor Jon Payne puts modern extinction in context by comparing them with Earth's five previous mass extinctions.

TEDxStanford: High-purpose computing for natural disaster reduction

Jenny Suckale shows us how the behavior of a melting glacier in the Antarctic doesn’t act like a melting ice cube, and why that matters.

Roman ruins

Volcanic rocks resembling Roman concrete explain record uplift

Research by Tiziana Vanorio finds that fiber-reinforced rocks beneath Italy’s dormant Campi Flegrei supervolcano are similar to a wonder-material used by the ancients to construct enduring structures such as the Pantheon, and may lead to improved building materials.

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