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Charred forest

Trees on the move: How wildfire accelerates forest changes

As climate conditions change, tree species are shifting their ranges. Wildfire is accelerating this process, likely by reducing competition from established species – a finding that raises questions about how to manage land in an era of shifting ecosystems.

Map labeled with damaged and undamaged buildings

AI system identifies buildings damaged by wildfire

A deep learning approach to classifying buildings with wildfire damage may help responders focus their recovery efforts and offer more immediate information to displaced residents.

Supercell storm

Scientists solve mystery of supercell storms' icy plumes

The most devastating tornadoes are often preceded by a cloudy plume of ice and water vapor billowing above a severe thunderstorm. New research reveals the mechanism for these plumes could be tied to “hydraulic jumps” – a phenomenon Leonardo Da Vinci observed more than 500 years ago.

East Troublesome Fire, Colorado

How do people respond to wildfire smoke?

Interviews with Northern California residents reveal that social norms and social support are essential for understanding protective health behaviors during wildfire smoke events – information that could be leveraged to improve public health outcomes.

Caldor Fire, August 2021

California Burning: Fire, Drought and Climate Change

Western states are once again in severe drought with water in short supply. And California’s fire season is starting earlier and causing more devastation. Buzz Thompson, one of the country’s leading water law experts, discusses California’s wildfires, drought, water and climate change.

Networked city

How to measure an earthquake through the internet

New technologies that detect motion in the Earth’s crust are emerging in surprising places and reshaping our understanding of earthquakes.

Smoky San Francisco

Wildfire smoke exposure during pregnancy increases preterm birth risk, study finds

Smoke from wildfires may have contributed to thousands of additional premature births in California between 2007 and 2012. The findings underscore the value of reducing the risk of big, extreme wildfires and suggest pregnant people should avoid very smoky air.

Rain storm in distance

Researchers use artificial intelligence to unlock extreme weather mysteries

A new machine learning approach helps scientists understand why extreme precipitation days in the Midwest are becoming more frequent. It could also help scientists better predict how these and other extreme weather events will change in the future.

Morraine Fire

Q&A: A blueprint for protecting communities and restoring a lower intensity fire regime

California may be headed for another record-breaking wildfire season. Stanford researchers discuss the shift in federal, state and local approaches necessary to turn the tide of destruction.

Summit lava lake

Scientists test friction laws in the collapsing crater of an erupting volcano

A new analysis of the 2018 collapse of Kīlauea volcano’s caldera helps to confirm the reigning scientific paradigm for how friction works on earthquake faults. The model quantifies the conditions necessary to initiate the kind of caldera collapse that sustains big, damaging eruptions of basaltic volcanoes like Kīlauea and could help to inform forecasting and mitigation.

Small device on ice sheet with sun in background

Solar radio signals could be used to monitor melting ice sheets

A new method for seeing through ice sheets using radio signals from the sun could enable cheap, low-power and widespread monitoring of ice sheet evolution and contribution to sea-level rise.

Neighborhood with several feet of flooding

Sea-level rise may worsen existing Bay Area inequities

Researchers examined the number of households unable to pay for damages from coastal flooding to reveal how sea-level rise could threaten the fabric of Bay Area communities over the next 40 years.

East Troublesome Fire, Colorado

Tips to protect against wildfire smoke

Warnings of another severe wildfire season abound, as do efforts to reduce the risk of ignition. Yet few are taking precautions against the smoke. Stanford experts advise on contending with hazardous air quality.

Fault rupture

What causes earthquake foreshocks?

Because foreshocks precede larger quakes, they have long presented the tantalizing prospect of warning of potentially damaging earthquakes. But to date, they have only been recognized in hindsight, and scientists for decades have sought to understand the physical processes that drive them. Computer modeling by Stanford geophysicists finds answers in the complex geometry of faults.

Traffic on the Oakland Bridge

Coastal flooding increases Bay Area traffic delays and accidents

Disruptions from sea level rise and coastal flooding events have significant indirect impacts on urban traffic networks and road safety.

Homes in Nicaragua flooded by Hurricane Eta

How does climate change affect migration?

April 2021 saw a 20-year high in the number of people stopped at the U.S./Mexico border, and President Joe Biden recently raised the cap on annual refugee admissions. Stanford researchers discuss how climate change’s effect on migration will change, how we can prepare for the impacts and what kind of policies could help alleviate the issue.

Coring and geophysical well-logging operation in Texas

Local impacts from fracking the Eagle Ford

Stanford scientists simulated the local risk of damaging or nuisance-level shaking caused by hydraulic fracturing across the Eagle Ford shale formation in Texas. The results could inform a new approach to managing human-caused earthquakes.

Flooding south of Houston in September in the wake of Hurricane Harvey (Credit Barbara Davidson for The New York Times)

Homes in floodplains are overvalued by nearly $44 billion

Analysis of sales data and flood risk data over two decades indicates that housing markets fail to fully account for information about flood risk. The findings suggest that policies to improve risk communication could influence market outcomes.

Cracked concrete

'DeepShake' predicts earthquake shaking intensity with AI

A deep neural network developed at Stanford and trained on more than 36,000 earthquakes offers a new way to quickly predict earthquake shaking intensity and issue early warnings of strong shaking.

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