Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Departments & Programs


Stress and Crustal Mechanics

The Stress and Crustal Mechanics group, directed by Professor Mark Zoback, 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 the mechanical behavior of reservoir-scale faults, to the strength of the lithosphere and the mechanics of major plate bounding faults such as the San Andreas.

Our group conducts basic and applied research in the areas of reservoir geomechanics, tectonophysics, and the physics of friction and faulting. We treat the Earth's crust as a natural laboratory, using a combination of stress and strain data obtained from boreholes, GPS measurements, and earthquake focal mechanisms to test theories about the behavior of the lithosphere. Our group is heavily engaged on applying these methodologies toward optimization of production from gas shale research and CO2 sequestration.