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coral reef

Stanford Earth Matters

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

Hydrothermal

How deep-ocean vents fuel massive phytoplankton blooms

A new study suggests vents in the seafloor may affect life near the ocean’s surface and the global carbon cycle more than previously thought. 

Soil

New process rinses heavy metals from toxic soils

An experimental chemical bath and electrochemical filter could now extract heavy metals from the soil and leave fields safe.

Recharge

Can California better use winter storms to refill its aquifers?

With new rules for groundwater management coming into effect, engineers are looking to harness an unconventional and unwieldy source of water: the torrential storms that sometimes soak California.

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.

Tomatoes

When food waste becomes a pollutant

Forty percent of food produced for consumption never gets eaten. Instead, it fills landfills and releases greenhouse gases. California now aims to drastically reduce the amount of food that ends up in the ground.

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.

Energy

When 100% renewable energy doesn't mean zero carbon

As power grids move away from fossil fuels, companies seeking to cut out carbon emissions will have to go beyond commitments to renewables. The type and timing of renewable energy used can have a big effect on envir

Green growth

Will investors pay a premium for being green?

Despite the surging focus on environmental sustainability, a new study suggests investors still care about the old kind of green.

Dry landscape

Domino droughts: How droughts travel across continents

New research finds one drought can amplify or trigger another. Decreased moisture recycling and transport impacts how droughts form and move across continents.

Engine

Can we reduce jet engine pollution while improving fuel efficiency?

A new type of combustion chamber could create a win-win for alternative fuel technologies.

Mouse

In a first, researchers identify reddish coloring in an ancient fossil

X-rays reveal an extinct mouse was dressed in brown to reddish fur on its back and sides and had a tiny white tummy.

Cattle

A counterintuitive climate solution

A relatively simple process for converting one greenhouse gas into another could help turn the tide of climate change while also turning a healthy profit.

Forest

Mapping microbial symbioses in forests

Data collected from over 1 million forest plots reveals patterns of where plant roots form symbiotic relationships with fungi and bacteria.

Wheat

A better way to predict Australian wheat yields

New research harnesses machine learning to accurately predict Australian wheat yields using climate and satellite data. The method could be translated to other crops and nations.

Reservoir

Toward safe and reliable drinking water for all Californians

Stanford scientists and water experts discuss how California can secure a safe and reliable water supply.

San Francisco Bay

Can a drone reveal the murky secrets of San Francisco Bay?

Measurements of suspended sediment concentrations reveal a lot about the health of a waterway, but until now such data has been difficult to obtain.

Solar school

What happens when schools go solar?

Rooftop solar projects at schools could reduce harmful air pollution, help the environment and enhance student learning while cutting electricity costs, a new study finds.

Bottles

Reassessing how to 'waste not'

Recycling is becoming harder and more expensive in the U.S. and policymakers are increasingly seeking solutions to mounting trash. Stanford experts are reassessing how we create and dispose of waste.

New Delhi

Climate change has worsened global economic inequality

The gap between the economic output of the world’s richest and poorest countries is 25 percent larger today than it would have been without global warming, according to new research from Stanford University.

Water

Understanding saltwater intrusion through remote sensing

New research provides insight on a common cause of drinking water contamination in coastal areas: intrusion of ocean saltwater into freshwater aquifers.

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