Caltech Geobiologist Receives Presidential Early Career Award

Victoria Orphan, professor of geobiology at Caltech, is one of 94 winners of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Out-of-this-world researchers join GPS faculty

The latest faculty to join the ranks as assistant professors in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences spend a lot of time gazing toward the heavens. Bethany Ehlmann has been working on understanding environmental conditions early in Mars's history, while Heather Knutson focuses on characterizing the properties of the planets that orbit stars other than our sun.

 

 

A Wave of New Earth-Science Faculty Joins GPS Division

For Andrew Thompson, assistant professor of environmental science and engineering who joined GPS in August, growing up in Rhode Island gave him a natural affinity for the ocean. Now, he studies physical ocean science, focusing on eddies. While Thompson studies the way sea storms move things around, new faculty member and alum Victor Tsai, assistant professor of geophysics, is busy measuring the seismic noise produced by the movements of the ocean—partly from the crashing of waves onto the shore.

Astronomers Find Ice and Possibly Methane on Snow White, a Distant Dwarf Planet

Astronomers at Caltech have discovered that the dwarf planet 2007 OR10—nicknamed Snow White—is an icy world, with about half its surface covered in water ice that once flowed from ancient, slush-spewing volcanoes. The new findings also suggest that the red-tinged dwarf planet may be covered in a thin layer of methane, the remnants of an atmosphere that's slowly being lost into space.

New Data Shows El Mayor—Cucapah Earthquake Was Simple on Surface, Complicated at Depth

Like scars that remain on the skin long after a wound has healed, earthquake fault lines can be traced on Earth's surface long after their initial rupture. Typically, this line of intersection between the area where the fault slips and the ground is more complicated at the surface than at depth. But a new study by Caltech researchers of the April 4, 2010, El Mayor–Cucapah earthquake in Mexico reveals a reversal of this trend.

Stolper Elected to Great Britain's Royal Society

Edward M. Stolper, provost of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and William E. Leonard Professor of Geology, has been named a Foreign Member of Great Britain's Royal Society. He is one of eight scientists elected in 2011. Stolper’s election brings to six the number of foreign members of the Royal Society currently on the Caltech faculty.

Genesis samples reveal new clues about sun's chemical makeup

Ever since a crash landing on Earth grounded NASA's Genesis mission in 2004, scientists have been gathering, cleaning, and analyzing solar wind particles collected by the spacecraft. Now, two new studies published in Science reveal that Earth's chemistry is less like the sun's than previously thought. 

Caltech-led Researchers Measure Body Temperatures of Dinosaurs for the First Time

Were dinosaurs slow and lumbering, or quick and agile? It depends largely on whether they were cold or warm blooded. Now, a team of researchers led by Caltech has developed a new approach to take body temperatures of dinosaurs for the first time, providing new insights into whether dinosaurs were cold or warm blooded.

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

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. 

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

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.

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