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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

Mother and baby sperm whales

Stanford researchers learn why aquatic mammals need to be big, but not too big

Examining body sizes of ancient and modern aquatic mammals and their terrestrial counterparts reveals that life in water restricts mammals to a narrow range of body sizes – big enough to stay warm, but not so big they can’t find enough food.

surfers with oil rig in background

Stanford law and water quality experts discuss possible offshore oil expansion

If federal plans move ahead, most U.S. coastal waters would be open to offshore oil drilling. Stanford professors look at the issues from California's perspective.

Student snorkeling among coral reefs.

Learning through fieldwork on Pacific coral reefs

Stanford undergraduates study links between human and natural systems through an interdisciplinary seminar in Palau.

The front of Antarctica's Getz Ice Shelf. Photo credit: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA

New Study Reveals Strong El Niño Events Cause Large Changes in Antarctic Ice Shelves

Matthew Siegfried, a postdoctoral researcher working with Dustin Schroeder in the Stanford Radio Glaciology Group, co-authored a study showing oscillations of water temperature in the tropical Pacific Ocean can induce rapid melting of Antarctic ice shelves.

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.

Sea turtle swimming near reef.

Q&A: Loss of protections for marine sanctuaries could threaten oceanic environment and fisheries

Researchers who have studied marine national monuments and adjacent areas discuss their value and the potential impacts of a change in protected status.

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."

Plastic bag floating through ocean.

Q&A: The history and future of the global plastics economy

Stanford chemist Robert Waymouth discusses changes in incentives and technologies to create a more sustainable future for plastics.

Rock at water's edge at sunset

First oceans may have been acidic

A model of ion flux in the oceans shows carbon dioxide driving ocean acidity.

Ice flow

Greenland’s summer ocean bloom likely fueled by iron

Iron-rich meltwater from Greenland’s glaciers are helping fuel a summer bloom of phytoplankton.

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.

Poor outlook for biodiversity in Antarctica

A comparison of Antarctic biodiversity and its management with global trends finds that it is more similar to the rest of the world than previously believed. 

chinese fishing boats

How China is poised for marine fisheries reform

China has introduced an unprecedented policy platform for stewarding its fisheries and other marine resources.

sea surface temperature map

Does the new La Niña forecast mean a dry winter for California?

Stanford Earth's Daniel Swain explains that the expected La Niña could end up being fairly weak and open up the possibility for normal rainfall in Southern California. 

Bubbles rising through water.

Protecting Coral Reefs with Bubbles

Bubbles – yes, bubbles – could help protect coral reefs, oyster farms, and other coastal ecosystems from increasing ocean acidification, according to new Stanford research.

Karst topography in South China

Oxygen-starved oceans held back life's recovery after the 'Great Dying'

 Analysis of ancient seabed rocks from disparate locations reveal that life did not rebound until anoxia had fully ebbed.

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