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Departments & Programs


  • Rock deformation and fluid transport

    Using state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, we investigate why natural rocks deform, and how this changes local fluid transport. We perform mechanical and permeability tests in combination with micro and nanoscale analysis/imaging to identify the mechanisms that control bulk deformation, fault movement and fluid transport at the crustal and reservoir scale. [Learn more]

  • F. Rall Walsh, III, Mark D. Zoback, and Ker Than: Earthquakes in Oklahoma

    Faulting and crustal mechanics

    Our group carries out a variety of studies that approach problems of faulting and crustal mechanics in geologic environments by integration of various types of data. Typically, these studies involve working with data on the magnitude and orientation of in situ stresses, seismological data, geodetic data, etc. [Learn more]

  • Energy Information Administration shale gas plays

    Reservoir geomechanics

    We are carrying out a series of studies, usually in close collaboration with the oil and gas industry, on problems in oil and gas reservoirs, potential CO2 repositories and geothermal reservoirs. The emphasis of this research recently has been on shale gas, tight gas and tight oil reservoirs. [Learn more]


Stanford Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group

The Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group uses knowledge of the state of stress in the Earth and the mechanical properties of Earth materials to investigate a variety of geophysical problems. [more]

The group is directed by Professor Mark D. Zoback.

The free online course Reservoir Geomechanics will be offered again in Spring 2018. Registration is now open, and it will remain open until late March or early April, shortly after the course begins. Click here to register or find additional information.

Recent Publications

Finkbeiner, T. and M.D. Zoback. In-situ stress and pore pressure in the South Eugene Island field, Gulf of Mexico. SPE/ISRM Rock Mechanics in Petroleum Engineering, Soc. of Petroleum Eng., Richardson, TX., pp. 69-78.

Chang, C. and M.D. Zoback. Viscous rheology and the state of stress in unconsolidated sands. SPE/ISRM Rock Mechanics in Petroleum Engineering, Soc. of Petroleum Eng., Richardson, TX., pp. 465-474.

*Dholakia, S.K., A. Aydin, D. Pollard, and M.D. Zoback. Development of fault-controlled hydrocarbon migration pathways in the Monterey formation, California. AAPG Bull., v. 82, pp. 1551-1574.

Moos, D., M.D. Zoback, and L. Bailey. Feasibility study of the stability of openhole multilaterals, Cook inlet, Alaska. In: SPE Mid-Continent Operations Symposium held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 28-31 March, Soc. of Petroleum Eng., Richardson, TX., SPE 52186.