New Computer Model Explains Lakes and Storms on Titan

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.

Ironing Out the Details of the Earth's Core

Identifying the composition of the earth's core is key to understanding how our planet formed and the current behavior of its interior. While it has been known for many years that iron is the main element in the core, many questions have remained about just how iron behaves under the conditions found deep in the earth. Now, a team led by mineral-physics researchers at Caltech has honed in on those behaviors by conducting extremely high-pressure experiments on the element.

Moore Foundation Awards $6 Million for Research Leading to Earthquake Early Warning System

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.

Caltech Geophysicist Joann Stock Receives KINGDOM Educational Software Grant

Caltech Seismological Laboratory professor Joann Stock has been awarded a KINGDOM Software educational user license from Seismic Micro-Technology Inc.

Evidence of Ancient Lake in California's Eel River Emerges

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.

Wet and Mild: Caltech Researchers Take the Temperature of Mars's Past

Researchers at the Caltech have directly determined the surface temperature of early Mars for the first time, providing evidence that's consistent with a warmer and wetter Martian past.

Caltech Named World's Top University in New Times Higher Education Global Ranking

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. 

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.

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