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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.