The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded $6 million to Caltech, UC Berkeley, and University of Washington, Seattle, to create a prototype earthquake early warning system for the Pacific Coast of the United States.
A catastrophic landslide 22,500 years ago dammed the upper reaches of northern California's Eel River, forming a 30-mile-long lake—which has since disappeared—and leaving a living legacy found today in the genes of the region's steelhead trout, according to scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Oregon.
Caltech has been rated the world's number one university in the 2011–2012 Times Higher Education global ranking of the top 200 universities, displacing Harvard University from the top spot for the first time in the survey's eight-year history.
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.
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.
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 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.