Earth Sciences

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.

Manmade and natural earthquakes share shaking potential

New research shows manmade and naturally occurring earthquakes in the central U.S. share the same characteristics, information that will help scientists predict and mitigate damage from future earthquakes.

Mastering the art of environmental and policy engagement

Op-eds written by Stanford students in a new environmental advocacy and policy course have begun to be published – one outcome of a class that teaches students how to advocate for environmental policy issues.

Studying alien ice on Earth

A flash of green laser followed by pulses of X-rays, and mere nanoseconds later an extraterrestrial form of ice has formed. The miniature crystal reveals how water solidifies under high pressures, like those expected in icy comets, moons and planets.