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Seismic Imaging Provides Bigger Picture for Earthquake Researchers

Katie Neith

Caltech scientists and students are among a group of government and university researchers collecting seismic images of the Imperial and Coachella Valleys this week.


8.9 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Off Coast of Japan

Katie Neith

At a press conference held at Caltech this morning, USGS and Caltech seismologists reported on the latest details of the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake that hit off the coast of Japan last night.


Caltech's Kate Hutton on the New Zealand Earthquake

Lori Oliwenstein

In the wake of Monday's magnitude 6.3 earthquake in New Zealand--an aftershock of a 7.0 quake in September 2010--reporters looked to Caltech's experts for information and insight. They got both from staff seismologist Kate Hutton, who spent Tuesday afternoon fielding questions from a steady stream of reporters and camera crews.


"Like It or Not, We Are Living on This Planet"

Heidi Aspaturian

The number of large destructive earthquakes in 2010, plus a flurry of medium magnitude quakes in California, led many people to ask, Are we in a period of heightened temblor activity, and is it likely to continue? E&S sat down with Hiroo Kanamori, the Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, and Joe Kirschvink, the Van Wingen Professor of Geobiology, to hear their thoughts.


Asteroids Ahoy! Jupiter Scar Likely from Rocky Body

Allison Benter

A hurtling asteroid about the size of the Titanic caused the scar that appeared in Jupiter's atmosphere in July 2009. Data from three infrared telescopes enabled scientists to observe the warm atmospheric temperatures and unique chemical conditions associated with the impact debris. An international team of scientists was able to deduce that the object was more likely a rocky asteroid than an icy comet.


Caltech Geobiologists Uncover Links between Ancient Climate Change and Mass Extinction

Marcus Woo

About 450 million years ago, Earth suffered the second-largest mass extinction in its history—the Late Ordovician mass extinction, during which more than 75 percent of marine species died. Exactly what caused this tremendous loss in biodiversity remains a mystery, but now a team led by researchers at Caltech has discovered new details supporting the idea that the mass extinction was linked to a cooling climate.


Caltech Establishes Four Research Programs

Marcus Woo

Caltech is embarking on four research programs that intend to produce clean energy, probe the bizarre phenomena of quantum physics, understand the genetic and neural wiring behind complex behaviors, and save lives during earthquakes. To support these projects, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation recently allocated a total of $17.5 million, part of the Foundation’s $300 million commitment made to Caltech in 2001.


Exploring the Earth . . . and Beyond

What do scientific studies and national boundary lines have in common? According to Caltech geobiologist and graduate student Jeff Marlow, both reflect something unique and profound about humanity: our need to explore. Marlow sees parallels between what we've been discovering about our world and the way we've spread across it. At next month's TEDxCaltech conference, he'll present an analysis of what drives us to explore—including what it suggests about the essence of being human.


New Flume On the Block

Marcus Woo

Last Wednesday morning, Caltech received a rather large delivery. About 50 feet long and 5 feet wide, a big black chunk of metal was unloaded from a truck and slowly pushed into the Central Engineering Services Building.


Thomas J. Ahrens, 74

Marcus Woo

Thomas J. Ahrens, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, at Caltech, died at his home in Pasadena on November 24. He was 74.