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Research Groups

More information on research in Geophysics can be found in these sites. These websites are created and maintained by the faculty, students and staff involved with each group.

Crustal Deformation and Fault Mechanics

We study active earthquake and volcanic process through data collection, inversion, and continuum mechanics modeling. Using GPS and InSAR we are able to monitor crustal deformation in space and time and invert these data for spatiotemporal variations in fault slip-rate and magma chamber dilation. Current projects include automated detection of transient deformations, determining source properties of slow slip events and associated seismicity, strain accumulation along the San Andreas Fault, modeling volcano deformation in Hawaii and at Mount St. Helens, and physical modeling of slow slip events including fault dilation and thermal pressurization.

Crustal Geophysics

The "Crustal Geophysics" research group studies the tectonics and geodynamics of the lithosphere, typically focusing on continental lithosphere that is currently or recently deforming and evolving. We use controlled-source reflection and refraction seismology on land and at sea, and a wide range of passive seismological analyses (shear-wave splitting, receiver-function analysis, surface-wave inversion) as necessary to address the chosen problems. Recent and ongoing areas of investigation are the Himalaya-Tibet orogen, the East Africa Rift, the western margin of the Basin-&-Range Province, and the Mariana arc-backarc system.

Earthquake Seismology

The Earthquake Seismology research group studies earthquakes using a variety of techniques in order to gain a deeper understanding of how earthquakes work and what their consequences might be. Current research areas include high-precision earthquake location, the earthquake energy budget, earthquake scaling, tectonic tremor, triggered tremor, slow earthquakes, earthquake detection, source imaging, stochastic source characterization, and strong ground motion prediction using the ambient seismic field.

The Center for Groundwater Evaluation and Management

The Center for Groundwater Evaluation and Management (GEM) is a research center that provides a multidisciplinary/crosscutting approach to groundwater evaluation and management. The focus of research is the integration of data, acquired across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, to monitor and model subsurface hydrologic processes. The defining characteristic of the GEM Center is the use of geophysical data as an essential part of all aspects of groundwater evaluation and management. Central to our approach is the establishment of partnerships that allow the GEM Center to demonstrate state-of-the-science solutions to "real-world" problems. In this way, we hope to play a key role in encouraging the adoption of new approaches, and new technologies, for addressing the challenging problems we face in the evaluation and management of our groundwater resources.

Global Climate and Energy Program (GCEP)

In our Research area, we develop the science and technology that could lead to a global energy system with significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this, GCEP is building a diverse portfolio of innovative, step-out technologies. GCEP is organized around a range of research areas that will be considered over the course of the Project, and we currently have numerous research activities taking place at Stanford and at collaborating institutions around the world. GCEP will continue to add programs in current and other research areas.

Radar Interferometry

Radar Interferometry investigates the Earth and solar system using radar remote sensing techniques. Our main interests include InSAR imaging, Earth exploration from space, satellite remote sensing, planetary science, digital signal processing for geoscience applications, and EM scattering and propagation. We are multidisciplinary and housed jointly in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Geophysics. Students interested in pursuing research in these areas are encouraged to apply through either of these departments.

Stanford Rock Physics and Borehole Geophysics Project (SRB)

The SRB Program is an Industrial Affiliates program in the Geophysics Department at Stanford University. SRB is the acronym for The Stanford Rock Physics & Borehole Geophysics Project.

Stanford Rock Physics Laboratory (SRPL)

The research at the Stanford Rock Physics Laboratory focuses on experiments designed to understand the connections between geophysical properties measured at the surface of the Earth or within boreholes with the intrinsic properties of rocks – i.e., mineralogy, porosity, pore fluids, stress conditions, and the overall rock architecture such as laminations, fractures, and the intricate pore network.

Stanford Exploration Project (SEP)

The Stanford Exploration Project (SEP) is an industry-funded academic consortium whose purpose is to improve the theory and practice of constructing 3-D and 4-D images of the earth from seismic echo soundings. Although most of our research is targeted at improvements in the geophysical survey contracting industry, about half of our sponsors and alumni are in the petroleum industry because we focus on overcoming technological limitations of the geophysical survey industry. SEP pioneered innovations in migration imaging, velocity estimation, dip moveout and slant stack. Today our focus is on 3-D seismic applications such as velocity estimation, wavefield-continuation prestack migration, multidimensional image estimation, and 4-D (time-lapse) reservoir monitoring. Besides 3-D reflection seismic data, we undertake small 2-D imaging projects with geophysical data of all kinds. The diversity of applications exercises our judgment and skill at combining fundamentals of statistical signal theory, optimization theory, numerical analysis, and wave propagation theory, and this has led us to numerous improvements and some breakthroughs. We organize our research to facilitate technology transfer by using a formal method of makefile rules. With these, most of our research results are verified by someone other than the original researcher. Research progress reports at least three years old and all PhD theses are made available to the public through our web site.

Stanford Wave Physics Lab (SWP)

The Stanford Wave Physics Laboratory was created in 2003 to foster development of geophysical methods for high-resolution characterization of Earth's subsurface. From its roots as the Seismic Tomography Project (STP), today's SWPLab incorporates on a variety of research activities ranging from experimental laboratory and field methods, data processing and inversion, to computational techniques. Results of these activities are being applied to near-surface characterization problems, oil and gas exploration, carbon sequestration, and rock and material characterization studies. Most of the research in the group builds on a foundation of the physics of wave phenomena. Active projects include research on seismic attenuation tomography, acoustical spectroscopy, true 4-D time-lapse imaging, and large-scale numerical simulation of seismic waves in multi-scale media. To date, the primary focus has been seismic waves, but future interests include electromagnetic and coupled wave phenomena.

Stress and Crustal Mechanics

The Stress and Crustal Mechanics group uses knowledge of the state of stress in the Earth and the mechanical properties of Earth materials to investigate a variety of geophysical problems. These problems cover a variety of scales, ranging from pore scale processes and themechanical behavior of reservoir-scale faults, to the strength of the lithosphere and the mechanics of major plate bounding faults such as the San Andreas.