Earth Sciences

Stanford Earth —

Fact or fiction? The science of “Star Wars“

How did those planets form? Could they exist in our universe? Could “Star Wars” really happen? Stanford Earth experts on planetary formation, processes and habitability discuss the science behind the fictional saga.

Stanford Earth —

Q&A: 30 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake

Reflecting on the 30th anniversary of Loma Prieta, earthquake experts share their perspectives on how the event affected them, the Bay Area and the research community at large.

Where can flooded fields help replenish groundwater?

Overpumping in California’s Central Valley has depleted groundwater storage capacity and caused the land to sink. A new model could help zero in on where water managers can replenish aquifers by flooding fields.

Sterol-producing bacteria may change interpretation of geological history

Geologists assume when they find molecules called sterols in soils or rocks they indicate the presence of plants, animals or fungi in ancient environments. In new research from Paula Welander, discovering how some bacteria also produce and modify sterols could change those interpretations.

Supervolcanoes: A key to America’s electric future?

Stanford researchers show that lake sediments preserved within ancient supervolcanoes can host large lithium-rich clay deposits. A domestic source of lithium would help meet the rising demand for this valuable metal, which is critical for modern technology.