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Teaching

Lecture Classes

Professor Zoback occasionally teaches an introductory class titled Sustainability and Collapse (THINK 8) with Professor Russell Berman of the Comparative Literature Department. Sustainability and Collapse is part of Stanford’s Thinking Matters curriculum. Sustainability and Collapse explores both scientific and humanistic approaches to questions of environmental sustainability through a study of novels, historical texts, and works of biogeography. Students learn to ask how textual and visual images inform our ideas about what it means to live sustainably and consider whether those ideas are in accordance with or in conflict with scientific understandings of human uses of nature. This class is taught in the Autumn quarter.

Professor Zoback teaches a graduate level class titled Tectonophysics (GEOPHYS 186/290) with Professor Simon Klemperer of the Geophysics Department. This class investigates the physics of faulting and plate tectonics. Topics include plate driving forces, lithospheric rheology, crustal faulting, and the state of stress in the lithosphere. Exercises ask students to investigate lithospheric temperature and strength profiles, calculate seismic strain from summation of earthquake moment tensors, understand slip on faults in 3D, model stress triggering, and invert of stress from earthquake focal mechanisms. Offered every other year in the Winter quarter, during alternate years from Reservoir Geomechanics.

Professor Zoback teaches a graduate level class titled Reservoir Geomechanics (GEOPHYS 202). The course covers basic principles of rock mechanics and the state of stress and pore pressure in sedimentary basins related to exploitation of hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoirs. Topics include mechanisms of hydrocarbon migration, exploitation of fractured reservoirs, reservoir compaction and subsidence, hydraulic fracturing, and utilization of directional and horizontal drilling to optimize well stability. Offered every other year in the Spring quarter.

Reservoir Geomechanics is also offered annually as a free online class open to anyone through Stanford Online. The online course is offered every Spring between late March and early June. Registration for 2018 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 more information.

Starting in 2016, Professor Zoback has co-taught a new graduate-level course, Unconventional Reservoir Geomechanics (GEOPHYS 208), with Dr. Arjun H. Kohli. Offered every Spring quarter, this course extends the geophysical principles and techniques introduced in Reservoir Geomechanics (GEOPHYS202) to the development of "unconventional" or low permeability hydrocarbon reservoirs. We will also examine the physics and occurrence of induced earthquakes during hydraulic fracturing, wastewater disposal, geothermal reservoir development and CO2 injection and storage. GEOPHYS202 is recommended or may be taken concurrently.

Research Seminars


The Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group offers a weekly seminar in which students and professors present their own research as well as current work by other scientists in the fields of tectonic stress, crustal deformation, reservoir geomechanics, induced and triggered seismicity, and global energy issues. We invite you to join us.

Stress Seminar (GEOPHYS 385K), held in Mitchell Earth Sciences B59A

Winter 2018 topic: Relating Stress and Active Strain on Regional Scales 

Date Time Speaker Talk Title
17 January 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Norman H. Sleep and Jens-Erik Lund Snee Quarter planning meeting: Relating Stress and Active Strain on Regional Scales
24 January 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Fatemeh Rassouli, Gader Alalli, and Harry Lisabeth Big ideas: Relating tectonics and stress
31 January 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Ankush Singh and Shaochuan Xu Background: Crustal strength and constitutive relationships
7 February 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Fatimah Al-Ismail and Matt Weingarten Regional strain, slip partitioning, and the stress field
14 February 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Kevin McCormack, Jens-Erik Lund Snee, and Fatemeh Rassouli Stress and strain near weak transform faults
21 February 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Harry Lisabeth, Gader Alalli, and Fatimah Al-Ismail Density and flexure
28 February 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Kevin McCormack TBD
7 March 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Lei Jin, Jens-Erik Lund Snee, and Shaochuan Xu Implications for sedimentary basins
14 March 12:00 pm–
12:50 pm
Matt Weingarten, Ankush Singh, and Cornelius Langenbruch Geodetic measurements and stress: Case studies
21 March No Seminar