Geologists in the Field

Field geologists at Caltech come face to face with bears and wolverines, climb steep cliffs and mountains, and endure scorching sunlight and frigid temperatures. Sometimes risking life and limb, they travel to some of the most remote corners of the globe—all in the name of science

Anchors Aweigh

At Caltech, hydrophilic researchers in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences take to the salty seas to gather data, explore the deep, and get a firsthand view of the beasts at the bottom. The briny treasures they collect along the way are helping them learn more about past, present, and future environmental conditions and hazards. 

 

Countdown to Mars: Caltech goes to the Red Planet

On Sunday, August 5, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, known as Curiosity, will make its dramatic descent onto Mars's surface. Once it lands, the rover will check its instruments to make sure everything's functioning properly—and then it will get right to work. Caltech's Ken Farley and Bethany Ehlmann will be among the 300 scientists working here on Earth, taking the information Curiosity sends home and trying to figure out what it all means.

An Earthquake in a Maze

The powerful magnitude-8.6 earthquake that shook Sumatra on April 11, 2012, was a seismic standout for many reasons, not the least of which is that it was larger than scientists thought an earthquake of its type could ever be. Now, as Caltech researchers report on their findings from the first high-resolution observations of the underwater temblor, they point out that the earthquake was also unusually complex-rupturing along multiple faults that lie at nearly right angles to one another, as though racing through a maze.

Geological Society of America Awards Eiler

John Eiler, Robert P. Sharp Professor of Geology and professor of geochemistry at Caltech, has been awarded the 2012 Arthur L. Day Medal by the Geological Society of America (GSA).

Caltech Scientists Find New Primitive Mineral in Meteorite

In 1969, an exploding fireball tore through the sky over Mexico, scattering thousands of pieces of meteorite across the state of Chihuahua. More than 40 years later, the Allende meteorite is still serving the scientific community as a rich source of information about the early stages of our solar system's evolution. Recently, scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) discovered a new mineral embedded in the space rock—one they believe to be among the oldest minerals formed in the solar system.

Notes from the Back Row: "The Isotope Time Machine"

Were dinosaurs slow and stupid, as used to be the prevailing wisdom, or nimble and smart enough to eat an attorney, as in the 1993 film Jurassic Park? The answer depends largely on whether the T. Rex in question is cold blooded, like an alligator, or warm blooded, like a bird. 

Caltech Astronomer Mike Brown Awarded Kavli Prize in Astrophysics

Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor and professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has been named a co-winner of the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics for his efforts to understand the outer solar system—work that led to the demotion of Pluto.

Caltech Researchers Gain Greater Insight into Earthquake Cycles

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.

Technology Developed at the Institute Measures Martian Sand Movement

Last year, images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured sand dunes and ripples moving across the surface of Mars—observations that challenged previously held beliefs that there was not a lot of movement on the red planet's surface. Now, technology developed by a team at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has allowed scientists to measure these activities for the very first time. 

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