Caltech Question of the Month: Is there any such thing as "earthquake weather"?

There is a popular notion that earthquakes happen more often in certain kinds of weather. Unfortunately, the description of the preferred weather varies geographically and with the person providing the description.

Crust of Tibetan Plateau is being squeezed by India and Asia, new study shows

Geophysicists have discovered why there are high plains and mountains in the Himalayas for trekkers to trek on. According to new data, the soft crust of the Tibetan Plateau is being squeezed like an accordion between the harder crusts of India and Asia.

Mechanism of cell suicide determined by Caltech, MIT researchers

Biologists at MIT and Caltech have uncovered the chemical details of a mechanism that cells use to commit suicide. The work appears in the August 28 issue of the journal Science. Mechanism of cell suicide determined by Caltech, MIT researchers

New Study Shows How Axons Find Their Way Home

Like a commuter trying to get to work during rush hour, a growing axon must thread its way through a throng of other axons that are headed in many different directions in the developing brain. Axons are the wire-like extensions of nerve cells that carry electrical signals from one place to another in the brain, and during development they must navigate across long distances (many centimeters) to reach their correct address within the brain. If the axon gets lost, brain circuits cannot form normally and, like the commuter showing up at the wrong office, the axon may not be able to do its job. So how do axons find their way? A report published in the July 24th issue of the journal Science by Drs. Susan Catalano and Carla Shatz of the University of California at Berkeley sheds light on how axons home in on their correct targets. New Study Shows How Axons Find Their Way Home July 1998 98

Brain cells attuned to visual nearness and farness interact to allow judgments of size, research shows

In the July 24 issue of Science, Caltech biology professor John Allman and his colleagues write that brain cells involved in vision tend to be apportioned to picking up farness or nearness. In working with rhesus monkeys trained to follow dots of varying size on a moving TV monitor, the researchers have found that the monkeys use their nearness and farness cells in tandem. Brain cells attuned to visual nearness and farnessinteract to allow judgments of size, research shows July 1998 98

Caltech Question of the Month: What is really happening when we have aftershocks after an earthquake?

Submitted by Gloria Hughes, Pasadena, California, and answered by Lucile M. Jones, Seismologist, U.S. Geological Survey/Visiting Research Associate, Caltech.

Earthquakes occur in clusters. In any cluster, the earthquake with the largest magnitude is called the mainshock, anything before it is a foreshock, and anything after it is an aftershock. A mainshock will be redefined as a foreshock if a subsequent event has a larger magnitude. Aftershock sequences follow predictable patterns as a group, although the individual earthquakes are random and unpredictable.

Parent that takes care of offspring tends to outlive the other parent, study shows

The parent who stays home to take care of the kids may be getting a good deal healthwise. New primate research from the California Institute of Technology shows that a primary caregiver tends to live longer than the other parent.

Biologists discover fundamental genetic principle governing blood vessel formation

An unsuspected but fundamental genetic rule governing the formation of the cardiovascular system has been uncovered by biologists at the California Institute of Technology. The discovery could influence the development of therapies for both cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Posthumous Paper by Gene Shoemaker Details Evidence of Comet Shower That Pummeled Earth 36 Million Years Ago

Geochemical evidence from a rock quarry in northern Italy indicates that a shower of comets hit Earth about 36 million years ago.

Gamma-ray Burst Found To Be Most Energetic Event in Universe

A team of astronomers from the California Institute of Technology announced today that a recently detected cosmic gamma-ray burst was as bright as the rest of the universe, releasing a hundred times more energy than previously theorized.


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