Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Departments & Programs


Research Areas

The research conducted in Stanford's Geophysics Department can broadly be grouped into the following four areas:

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Earthquake and volcanoes are complex and dynamic natural phenomena that pose extreme danger to human lives and property. These processes involve complex and non-linear interactions between physical/chemical/thermal processes that make their behavior challenging to understand. Research on earthquakes and volcanoes in the Department of Geophysics seeks to develop a deeper understanding of these hazards;
using seismology, geodesy, stress measurements, and computational modeling.


Geophysical methods are central to locating the energy resources that modern civilization is critically dependent on. Energy related work in the Department of Geophysics is focused on developing new methods for high resolution imaging of Earth structure, determining what those images mean in terms of physical properties, and optimizing production and utilization of unconventional energy resources.


Geophysics provides the means for imaging and characterizing the variable physical properties and active processes within the uppermost portion of the Earth, i.e., those parts directly influenced by humankind. Our environmental work focuses on water resources, and carbon sequestration, using a combination of laboratory experiments, computational simulations, and fieldwork.

Earth Structure and Dynamics

Earth is a dynamic planet, with thousands of violent volcanoes, devastating earthquakes, majestic mountains, and vast rift valleys. These awe-inspiring features are the surface manifestations of the great forces acting deep within the Earth. In the Stanford Geophysics Department we investigate how the Earth cools through plate tectonic motions, using observations ranging from the macro-scale of seismology to the micro-scale of mineral physics, in combination with theoretical geodynamic models.