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Departments & Programs


Research Profiles

These stories offer a glimpse of the many ways in which the Department of Geophysics is changing the world:

Earthquake Rupture Dynamics

Seismic hazard estimates, currently based on a sparse catalog of strong ground motion records from stations close to large earthquakes, will increasingly be based upon realistic simulations of hypothetical ruptures.

Quake-Catcher Network

Stanford Earthquake researcher Jesse Lawrence wants to plug in small seismic sensors into USB ports on computers across the campus. The sensors, which periodically send a report to the researcher's computers, will provide valuable data on how buildings respond to earthquakes.

Geophysical Monitoring of CO2 Sequestrations

Geologic CO2 sequestration is a process of capturing and storing CO2 in appropriate geological settings. By keeping the waste gas from escaping to the atmosphere, we hope to reduce the greenhouse effect and to assist in the mitigation of global warming. Depleted oil or gas reservoirs, deep saline aquifers and deep unminable coalbeds are believed to be good geological settings for CO2 storage. For safety and operational reasons, we must perform subsurface as well as surface monitoring.

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.

The Use of Geophysical Methods to Develop an Improved Model of the Processes Governing the Operation of an Artificial Recharge Pond

What is causing the dramatic observed decrease in the infiltration rate over time? Why is not all of the stored water recovered? Where does the "lost" water go?

Structure and Dynamics of the Himalaya and Tibet

Tibet forms the largest and highest plateau on Earth today. The pattern of horizontal strain is increasingly well-known, and suggests that deformation is essentially continuous, with diffuse deformation of the crust and upper mantle over broad areas. The opposed view that discrete tectonic blocks, internally undeformed, are being expelled eastward between lithospheric strike-slip faults, is now largely discredited.

Modeling the Evolution of Effusive Silicic Eruptions

This project focuses on the geophysics of effusive silicic volcanic eruptions, with a special emphasis on the 2004-08 eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington. Mount St. Helens began to erupt in 2004 with very little precursory seismicity or ground deformation, which gave public offcials little time to prepare for a potential eruption.

The Phenomenon of Deep Tectonic Tremors

Prof. Greg Beroza and graduate students Justin Brown and Ana Aguiar are studying the newly discovered phenomenon of deep tectonic tremor.