For those who study earthquakes, one major challenge has been trying to understand all the physics of a fault—both during an earthquake and at times of "rest"—in order to know more about how a particular region may behave in the future. Now, researchers at Caltech have developed the first computer model of an earthquake-producing fault segment that reproduces, in a single physical framework, the available observations of both the fault's seismic (fast) and aseismic (slow) behavior.
By analyzing stalagmites, a team of Caltech researchers has determined that the climate signature in the tropics through four glacial cycles looks different in some ways and similar in others when compared to the climate signature at high latitudes. The results suggest that Earth's climate system might have two modes of responding to significant changes
Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is an intriguing, alien world that's covered in a thick atmosphere with abundant methane. Titan boasts methane clouds and fog, as well as rainstorms and plentiful lakes of liquid methane. The origins of many of these features, however, remain puzzling to scientists. Now, Caltech researchers have developed a computer model of Titan's atmosphere and methane cycle that, for the first time, explains many of these phenomena in a relatively simple and coherent way.
Advanced Photon Source
The highest-pressure vibrational spectrum of iron has been obtained by researchers working at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, providing important new clues to the behavior of iron in the Earth’s core.
Geophysical Research Letters
A team, including Seismo Lab assistant professor of mineral physics Jennifer Jackson and graduate student Caitlin Murphy (first author of the paper), has honed in on how iron behaves under the conditions found deep in the earth by conducting extremely high-pressure experiments on the element. The team used diamond anvil cells (DACs) to squeeze the iron samples, reproducing the types of pressures felt in the earth's core. Their research appears in the December 20 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.