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05/25/2011

Caltech-led Team Debunks Theory on End of "Snowball Earth" Ice Age

Lori Oliwenstein

A team of scientists led by researchers from Caltech report in this week's issue of the journal Nature that the rocks on which much of a theory on how the "Snowball Earth" ice age ended was based were formed millions of years after the ice age ended, and were formed at temperatures so high there could have been no living creatures associated with them. 

05/18/2011

Caltech Researchers Release First Large Observational Study of 9.0 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake

Katie Neith

When the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake and resulting tsunami struck off the northeast coast of Japan on March 11, they caused widespread destruction and death. Using observations from a dense regional geodetic network (allowing measurements of earth movement to be gathered from GPS satellite data), globally distributed broadband seismographic networks, and open-ocean tsunami data, researchers have begun to construct numerous models that describe how the earth moved that day.

05/09/2011

Seek, Secure, Silence, Stay: Shelter in Place

Lori Oliwenstein

On Wednesday, May 11, Caltech will be holding a shelter-in-place drill, beginning at approximately 1:10 p.m. The purpose behind the drill is to ready the campus for those types of emergencies in which a shelter-in-place response might be needed: a chemical or biological spill, severe weather, or an armed individual on campus, for instance. In these situations, being or heading outside is likely to be more hazardous than remaining indoors.

 

 

05/03/2011

Science in Progress: The Curious Case of the Shuram Excursion

Marcus Woo

Caltech geologists John Grotzinger and Woody Fischer have been puzzling over a surprising and controversial discovery made in the early 1990s—a discovery that provided some clues as to what might have caused a sudden burst of biodiversity 540 million years ago.

04/15/2011

Caltech Researchers Use GPS Data to Model Effects of Tidal Loads on Earth's Surface

Katie Neith

For many people, Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology is little more than a high-tech version of a traditional paper map. Used in automobile navigation systems and smart phones, GPS helps folks find their way around a new neighborhood or locate a nearby restaurant. But GPS is doing much, much more for researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech): it's helping them find their way to a more complete understanding of Earth's interior structure. 

 

04/06/2011

New Caltech Research Suggests Strong Indian Crust Thrust Beneath the Tibetan Plateau

Katie Neith

For many years, most scientists studying Tibet have thought that a very hot and very weak lower and middle crust underlies its plateau, flowing like a fluid. Now, a team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is questioning this long-held belief and proposing that an entirely different mechanism is at play.

 

04/05/2011

Quake Expert Profiled in Los Angeles Magazine

Katie Neith

Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey and visiting associate in geophysics at Caltech, gets personal in this month's Los Angeles magazine, recalling how she first became interested in earthquakes.

03/31/2011

Seismologist reflects on his firsthand experience of the Japanese earthquake

Katie Neith

Eminent seismologist Hiroo Kanamori, Caltech's Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, has been studying the movement of the earth his entire career. On March 11 he was in Tokyo, experiencing firsthand the largest earthquake in the country's recorded history.

03/30/2011

Warm Water Causes Extra-cold Winters in Northeastern North America and Northeastern Asia

Marcus Woo

Average winter temperatures in northern Europe are at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than similar latitudes on the northeastern coast of the United States and the eastern coast of Canada. The same phenomenon happens over the Pacific, where winters on the northeastern coast of Asia are colder than in the Pacific Northwest. Researchers at Caltech have now found a mechanism that helps explain these chillier winters—and the culprit is warm water off the eastern coasts of these continents.

03/23/2011

Simons Argues Against Hazard Prevention Cuts

Katie Neith

Less than two weeks after a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami devastated a large swath of Japan, Caltech geophysicist Mark Simons calls attention to federal budget proposals that would cut funding for prevention technologies.