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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

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.

San Francisco

How will San Francisco's skyscrapers fare after the next Big One?

Stanford civil engineers are working with the city to assess high-rise safety and mitigate any disruption, downtime or lost economic activity should downtown buildings be damaged. 

Oil pump

Researchers map susceptibility to man-made earthquakes

Stanford geophysicists forecast a decline in potentially damaging earthquakes from wastewater injection in Oklahoma and Kansas through 2020.

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.

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence: The science behind the storm

Atmospheric scientist Morgan O’Neill discusses what’s driving Florence, why it’s unusual, and how it could be connected to climate change and other storms brewing in the Atlantic.   

Suburban fire

Q&A: How does climate change affect human health?

Stanford experts discuss the linkages between climate change and health, an area that will be a focus of Stanford-led events at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

Destroyed beach home.

Transparency may improve U.S. home buyout programs

New research finds government buyouts of homes in floodplains have often lacked transparency. This could deter residents from participating in managed retreat, one of the main strategies for adapting to areas becoming more flood-prone, Stanford researcher suggests.

Snake

Drought predictive of decrease in snakebites

Rattlesnake bites, contrary to public opinion, increase after periods of high rainfall, not drought, according to a Stanford-led study that examined 20 years of snakebite history in California.

Drinking water

Natural chromium sources threaten California groundwater

A study shows natural sources of hexavalent chromium are affecting more people and wells in California than industrial sources. But groundwater pumping may accelerate release of this carcinogen.

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