Skip to main content

Skip to navigation

Departments & Programs



Lecture Classes

Professor Zoback teaches an introductory class titled Sustainability and Collapse (THINK 8) with Professor Russell Berman of the Comparative Literature Department. Sustainability and Collapse is part of Stanford’s Thinking Matters curriculum. Sustainability and Collapse explores both scientific and humanistic approaches to questions of environmental sustainability through a study of novels, historical texts, and works of biogeography. Students learn to ask how textual and visual images inform our ideas about what it means to live sustainably and consider whether those ideas are in accordance with or in conflict with scientific understandings of human uses of nature. This class is taught in the Autumn quarter.

Professor Zoback teaches a graduate level class titled Tectonophysics (GEOPHYS 186/290) with Professor Simon Klemperer of the Geophysics Department. This class investigates the physics of faulting and plate tectonics. Topics include plate driving forces, lithospheric rheology, crustal faulting, and the state of stress in the lithosphere. Exercises ask students to investigate lithospheric temperature and strength profiles, calculate seismic strain from summation of earthquake moment tensors, understand slip on faults in 3D, model stress triggering, and invert of stress from earthquake focal mechanisms. Offered every other year in the Winter quarter, during alternate years from Reservoir Geomechanics.

Professor Zoback teaches a graduate level class titled Reservoir Geomechanics (GEOPHYS 202). The course covers basic principles of rock mechanics and the state of stress and pore pressure in sedimentary basins related to exploitation of hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoirs. Topics include mechanisms of hydrocarbon migration, exploitation of fractured reservoirs, reservoir compaction and subsidence, hydraulic fracturing, and utilization of directional and horizontal drilling to optimize well stability. Offered every other year in the Spring quarter.

Reservoir Geomechanics is also offered as a free online class open to anyone through Stanford Online. Click here for information. The online course is offered every Spring between late March and early June. Registration typically opens in January or February.

Starting in 2016, Professor Zoback has co-taught a new graduate-level course, Unconventional Reservoir Geomechanics (GEOPHYS 208), with Dr. Arjun H. Kohli. Offered every Spring quarter, this course extends the geophysical principles and techniques introduced in Reservoir Geomechanics (GEOPHYS202) to the development of "unconventional" or low permeability hydrocarbon reservoirs. We will also examine the physics and occurrence of induced earthquakes during hydraulic fracturing, wastewater disposal, geothermal reservoir development and CO2 injection and storage. GEOPHYS202 is recommended or may be taken concurrently.

Research Seminars

The Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group offers a weekly seminar in which students and professors present their own research as well as current work by other scientists in the fields of tectonic stress, crustal deformation, reservoir geomechanics, induced and triggered seismicity, and global energy issues. We invite you to join us.

The Stress Seminar has concluded for the quarter. See below for the past schedule from Spring Quarter 2017. The Seminar will not be active during Summer Quarter. Please visit this page again in September 2017 for the Autumn Quarter seminar schedule.

Stress Seminar (GEOPHYS 385K), held in Mitchell Earth Sciences B59A

Spring 2017 topic: Geology of major shale gas and tight oil reservoirs 

Date Time Speaker Talk Title
April 5 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Mark D. Zoback Quarter planning meeting
April 12 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Jens-Erik Lund Snee The Permian Basin, Texas and New Mexico: Geology and unconventional oil and gas production
April 19 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Noha Farghal A brief geohistory of the Barnett Shale, Texas
April 26 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Kevin McCormack Geologic and thermal history of the Montney Shale, northern British Columbia
May 3 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Robert Cieplicki The Woodford Shale, southern Oklahoma
May 10 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Ankush Singh The Eagle Ford Formation, southern Texas and eastern Mexico
May 17 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Fatimah Al-Ismail  The Horn River Formation, northwestern Canada
May 24 No Seminar: Stanford Center for Induced and Triggered Seismicity (SCITS) Consortium Meeting
May 31 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Gader Alalli The Marcellus Shale, northeastern United States: Geology and unconventional oil and gas
June 7 No Seminar: Stanford Rock and Borehole Geophysics (SRB) Consortium Meeting
June 7 No Seminar: Finals week