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Research Groups

The Earth & Planetary Surface Processes group at Stanford investigates the mechanics of sedimentary and geomorphic processes that shape planetary surfaces. Specifically, we seek to decipher what landforms and rocks can tell us about a planet’s past hydrology, climate, and habitability through a variety of approaches including the analysis of data returned by space exploration missions, modeling (theoretical, numerical, and experimental), spectroscopy, and analog fieldwork.  

Our research seeks to understand what controls mineral-fluid reaction rates and how these rates are linked to long and short-term carbon cycling. I use natural laboratories that span gradients in time, hydrology, biology and parent material to establish the relationships between geochemical processes and hydrologic/climatic, geomorphic and geophysical processes. To quantify reaction rates I couple radiogenic and stable isotopic tracers with reactive transport modeling approaches.

We comprehensively examine the evolution of the Earth's crust using highly integrated geochronologic approaches conducted in a wide spectrum of analytical facilities that are all housed within the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. Our highly collaborative research provides fundamental data to many disciplines throughout the geosciences, including tectonics, geodynamics, petrology, geochemistry, geomorphology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, and paleoclimatology.

The Stanford Center for Earth Resources Forecasting (SCERF) provides research in the exploration, evaluation & development of Earth Resources, whether Energy, Water or Minerals.

Our motivation

CEES integrates Earth science and computer science to build capacity in computational methods for the Earth and environmental sciences, and to enable new growth in areas where computational activities already exist. The three units of CEES—Research, HPTC, and Education—work together to fill the gap between applied mathematics and the Earth sciences.

The Stanford Project on Deepwater Depositional Systems (SPODDS) is a research program focused on the study of ancient and modern coarse-clastic deep-water deposits from around the world. Affiliate members of this industrial consortium include numerous international energy companies that seek greater understanding of deep-water deposits as reservoir system for oil and gas.

The tectonic geomorphology group focuses on understanding erosion by landslides, rivers, and biota, and uplift by faulting. The group's research combines detailed field studies, analytical and numerical models, laboratory measurements, and remote-sensing (space- and drone-based) observations to understand how and why landscapes change in different environments across our planet.   The fundamental understanding of these natural processes is used to improve assessments of risks, and develop workable strategies for reducing risk and increasing resilience.