Tagged: Earthquake science Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 10:34 am on May 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earthquake modelers unite to compare and improve code", , Any kind of movement along a fault might affect the stresses and other factors that contribute to subsequent movements., , Earthquake science, Earthquake scientists from around the world used the benchmarks to test a suite of simulations of fault zone processes., Models are becoming more advanced and detailed., Movement along faults in Earth's crust can be sudden and jarring-as felt during an earthquake-or it can occur more gradually over thousands of years., Researchers face an increased need to verify the underlying numerical code to ensure the simulations' credibility., Researchers have developed computational physics-based models that simulate sequences of earthquakes and non-earthquake-related movement., Simulations could help uncover new insights into earthquakes including factors that affect their timing; location; duration and magnitude., , The researchers developed two new 3D benchmark problems for testing and comparing different numerical codes.   

    From The American Geophysical Union via phys.org: “Earthquake modelers unite to compare and improve code” 

    AGU bloc

    From The American Geophysical Union



    May 2, 2022
    Sarah Stanley

    A new study reports efforts to evaluate the accuracy of computational simulations of earthquakes and slower fault movements, such as the gradual fault creep that is deforming the walls of this stadium at The University of California-Berkeley. Credit: David Monniaux/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

    Movement along faults in Earth’s crust can be sudden and jarring, as felt during an earthquake, or it can occur more gradually over thousands of years. Any kind of movement along a fault might affect the stresses and other factors that contribute to subsequent movements.

    To better understand these dynamic fault zone processes, researchers have developed computational physics-based models that simulate sequences of earthquakes and non-earthquake-related movement. These simulations could help uncover new insights into earthquakes, including factors that affect their timing, location, duration, and magnitude. These models, however, are becoming more advanced and detailed. Researchers face an increased need to verify the underlying numerical code to ensure the simulations’ credibility.

    In contrast to model validation, in which simulations are tested for their ability to reproduce real-world observations, code verification involves setting computational benchmarks—essentially, well-defined problems to solve—to test the reliability and ability of simulations to accurately represent conceptual understanding of earthquake behavior.

    In a new study [Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth], Jiang et al report on international community–driven efforts to compare and verify the different numerical codes underlying simulations of fault zone processes. Building on previous efforts, the researchers developed two new 3D benchmark problems for testing and comparing different numerical codes. Both benchmarks require movement simulation along a fault embedded in a 3D space with certain physical characteristics, computationally reflecting conceptual earthquake dynamics.

    Earthquake scientists from around the world used the benchmarks to test a suite of simulations of fault zone processes. Overall, these efforts provided assurance as to the accuracy of the simulations. In particular, the simulations accurately reproduced earthquake duration, total movement, maximum speed, and stress change on faults.

    However, discrepancies between some simulations were also apparent. For instance, computational models using different spatial sizes and resolutions varied in their simulations of how earthquakes begin and grow, and how often they recur.

    These findings could help inform future earthquake modeling efforts, which the researchers hope will aid the rise of a new generation of models to improve understanding of fault zone dynamics and seismic hazards.

    See the full post here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The purpose of The American Geophysical Union is to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.

    To achieve this mission, AGU identified the following core values and behaviors.

    Core Principles

    As an organization, AGU holds a set of guiding core values:

    The scientific method
    The generation and dissemination of scientific knowledge
    Open exchange of ideas and information
    Diversity of backgrounds, scientific ideas and approaches
    Benefit of science for a sustainable future
    International and interdisciplinary cooperation
    Equality and inclusiveness
    An active role in educating and nurturing the next generation of scientists
    An engaged membership
    Unselfish cooperation in research
    Excellence and integrity in everything we do

    When we are at our best as an organization, we embody these values in our behavior as follows:

    We advance Earth and space science by catalyzing and supporting the efforts of individual scientists within and outside the membership.
    As a learned society, we serve the public good by fostering quality in the Earth and space science and by publishing the results of research.
    We welcome all in academic, government, industry and other venues who share our interests in understanding the Earth, planets and their space environment, or who seek to apply this knowledge to solving problems facing society.
    Our scientific mission transcends national boundaries.
    Individual scientists worldwide are equals in all AGU activities.
    Cooperative activities with partner societies of all sizes worldwide enhance the resources of all, increase the visibility of Earth and space science, and serve individual scientists, students, and the public.
    We are our members.
    Dedicated volunteers represent an essential ingredient of every program.
    AGU staff work flexibly and responsively in partnership with volunteers to achieve our goals and objectives.

  • richardmitnick 11:55 am on April 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New earthquake assessments strengthen preparedness in Europe", An international team of European seismologists; geologists and engineers has revised the earthquake hazard model that has existed since 2013 and created a first earthquake risk model for Europe., , During the 20th century earthquakes in Europe accounted for more than 200000 deaths and over 250 billion Euros in losses., , Earthquake risk describes the estimated economic and humanitarian consequences of potential earthquakes., Earthquake science, ,   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “New earthquake assessments strengthen preparedness in Europe” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    Michèle Marti
    Peter Rüegg

    European scientists with the participation of the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zürich have published an updated earthquake hazard map and, for the first time, an earthquake risk map for Europe. Switzerland will follow suit next year with a higher resolution national risk map.

    Great hazard, high risk: A strong earthquake in 2016 destroyed entire villages in Italy. Image: Adobe Stock / puckillustrations.

    During the 20th century earthquakes in Europe accounted for more than 200000 deaths and over 250 billion Euros in losses. Comprehensive earthquake hazard and risk assessments are crucial to reducing the effects of catastrophic earthquakes because earthquakes cannot be prevented nor precisely predicted.

    An international team of European seismologists, geologists, and engineers, with leading support of members from the Swiss Seismological Service and the Group of Seismology and Geodynamics at ETH Zürich has; therefore, revised the earthquake hazard model that has existed since 2013 and created a first earthquake risk model for the whole of Europe.

    The 2020 European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models offer comparable information on the spatial distribution of expected levels of ground shaking due to earthquakes, their frequency as well as their potential impact on the built environment and on people’s sense of wellbeing.

    The newly released update of the earthquake hazard model and the first earthquake risk model for Europe are the basis for establishing mitigation measures and making communities more resilient. They significantly improve the understanding of where strong shaking is most likely to occur and the potential effects of future earthquakes in Europe.

    To this aim, all underlying datasets have been updated and harmonised – a complex undertaking given the vast amount of data and highly diverse tectonic settings in Europe. Such an approach is crucial to establish effective transnational disaster mitigation strategies that support the definition of insurance policies or up-​to-date building codes at a European level and at national levels.

    Open access is provided to both, the European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models, including various initial components such as input datasets.

    The updated earthquake hazard model benefits from advanced datasets.

    Earthquake hazard describes potential ground shaking due to future earthquakes and is based on knowledge about past earthquakes, geology, tectonics, and local site conditions at any given location across Europe.  

    The advanced datasets incorporated into the new version of the model have led to a more comprehensive assessment of the earthquake hazard across Europe. In consequence, ground shaking estimates have been adjusted, resulting in lower estimates in most parts of Europe, compared to the 2013 model, and in the case of Switzerland closer to the national model. With the exception of some regions in western Turkey, Greece, Albania, Romania, southern Spain, and southern Portugal where higher ground shaking estimates are observed. The updated model also confirms that Turkey, Greece, Albania, Italy, and Romania are the countries with the highest earthquake hazard in Europe, followed by the other Balkan countries. But even in regions with low or moderate ground shaking estimates, damaging earthquakes can occur at any time.

    Furthermore, specific hazard maps from Europe’s updated earthquake hazard model will serve for the first time as an informative annex for the second generation of the Eurocode 8 (European standards related to construction). Eurocode 8 standards are an important reference to which national models may refer. Such models, when available, provide authoritative information to inform national local decisions related to developing seismic design codes and risk mitigation strategies. Integrating earthquake hazard models in specific seismic design codes helps ensure that buildings respond appropriately to earthquakes. These efforts thus contribute to better protect European citizens from earthquakes.

    Main drivers of the earthquake risk are older buildings

    First earthquake risk map for Europe. Graphic: EFEHR.

    Earthquake risk describes the estimated economic and humanitarian consequences of potential earthquakes. In order to determine the earthquake risk, information on local soil conditions, the density of buildings and people (exposure), the vulnerability of the built environment, and robust earthquake hazard assessments are needed. According to the 2020 European Seismic Risk Model (ESRM20), buildings constructed before the 1980s, urban areas, and high earthquake hazard estimates mainly drive the earthquake risk.

    Although most European countries have recent design codes and standards that ensure adequate protection from earthquakes, many older unreinforced or insufficiently reinforced buildings still exist, posing a high risk for their inhabitants.

    The highest earthquake risk accumulates in urban areas, such as the cities of Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey, Catania, and Naples in Italy, Bucharest in Romania, and Athens in Greece, many of which have a history of damaging earthquakes. In fact, these four countries alone experience almost 80% of the modelled average annual economic loss of 7 billion Euros due to earthquakes in Europe. However, also cities like Zagreb (Croatia), Tirana (Albania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Lisbon (Portugal), Brussels (Belgium), and Basel (Switzerland) have an above-​average level of earthquake risk compared to less exposed cities, such as Berlin (Germany), London (UK), or Paris (France).

    Developing the models is a joint effort

    A core team of researchers from different institutions across Europe, including the leading support of members from ETH Zürich, worked collaboratively to develop the first openly available Seismic Risk Model for Europe and to update Europe’s Seismic Hazard Model. They have been part of an effort that started more than 30 years ago and involved thousands of people from all over Europe. These efforts have been funded by several European projects and supported by national groups over all these years.

    Researchers from the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) and the Group of Seismology and Geodynamics at ETH Zürich led many of these projects. The SED is also home to EFEHR (European Facilities for Earthquake Hazard and Risk). EFEHR is a non-​profit network dedicated to the development and updating of earthquake hazard and risk models in the European-​Mediterranean region. ETH Zürich thus holds a central hub function for data collection and processing, open access to earthquake hazard and risk models including all basic data sets, and knowledge exchange.

    The development of the 2020 European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

    What do the European seismic hazard and risk models mean for Switzerland?

    One important aspect of earthquake mitigation that relies on hazard models is the development of construction standards for earthquake-​resistant structures. In Switzerland, this task is the responsibility of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA), which takes as its basis the national hazard assessment prepared by the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich, last updated in 2015. This is standard practice in countries and regions for which comprehensive hazard assessments are available. The reason for this is that national models depict local conditions with greater precision and in a higher resolution than European models. Nevertheless, the relevant SIA committee will study the new European model closely and analyse possible differences vis-​à-​vis the national model. However, this is not expected to result in any changes to the currently applicable SIA standards for earthquake-​resistant construction.

    Work under way on national seismic risk model

    In contrast to seismic hazard, Switzerland does not yet have a national model for seismic risk. The SED is currently developing such a model in collaboration with the Federal Office for the Environment and the Federal Office for Civil Protection. Due to be published next year, it will show in great detail the damage that can be expected to occur in Switzerland as a result of earthquakes. As with the seismic hazard model, the national seismic risk model will reflect the specific characteristics of Switzerland more accurately than the European model and will therefore serve as the primary reference for Switzerland-​wide risk analyses. However, the European model is helpful when it comes to making risk comparisons between countries.

    European results provide indications of high-​risk regions

    Initial analyses by the SED suggest that the European seismic hazard assessment differs only minimally from the national assessment. There is currently no reference for seismic risk, but in the European model Basel and Geneva stand out as places at particularly high risk in Switzerland.

    This is hardly surprising in the case of Basel, as all relevant seismic risk factors come together there: a high density of residents and property, a high seismic hazard and many vulnerable buildings.

    Compared with Basel, Geneva has a lower seismic hazard. However, a fault zone in the French Alps plays a key role in the European risk model as a possible source of more distant but potentially large earthquakes. As with Basel, there is also a high density of residents and property and a vulnerable building stock, much of which is built on soft subsoil that is not good for earthquakes (sedimentary basin).

    Furthermore, on the map in the European model, the core zone in Geneva lies in a single cell, whereas in Zürich, which has similar conditions, it is spread across three cells. From a purely visual point of view, therefore, the risk appears greater for Geneva than for Zürich, for example.

    The fact that other urban or particularly vulnerable Swiss areas do not show up more strongly in the European seismic risk model is mainly due to two factors. Firstly, Swiss cities tend to be small by European standards and are therefore at less risk than other large urban areas. Secondly, the results are normalised with gross domestic product (GDP). In other words, the risk assessment takes into account a country’s ability to mitigate the effects of an earthquake.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

  • richardmitnick 11:39 am on April 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , "Scientists scour 'Mexico's Galapagos' for quake and volcano clues", According to conventional theory convection—the mantle's motion caused by the transfer of heat from the Earth's core to the outer layer—causes tectonic plates to move and grind against each other., , Could a volcanic eruption off Mexico's coast unleash a tsunami like the one that devastated Tonga?, , Earthquake science, , The Revillagigedo Islands are known as "Mexico's Galapagos" due to their isolation and biodiversity., , What really causes tectonic plates to shift and trigger earthquakes?   

    From phys.org: “Scientists scour ‘Mexico’s Galapagos’ for quake and volcano clues” 

    From phys.org

    April 23, 2022
    Daniel Rook

    Scientists visited the remote Revillagigedo archipelago to study if a volcanic eruption off Mexico’s coast could unleash a tsunami, as well as the causes of earthquakes.

    Could a volcanic eruption off Mexico’s coast unleash a tsunami like the one that devastated Tonga? What really causes tectonic plates to shift and trigger earthquakes? Scientists visited a remote archipelago in search of answers.

    Located in the Pacific Ocean several hundred kilometers from the Mexican coast, the Revillagigedo Islands are known as “Mexico’s Galapagos” due to their isolation and biodiversity.

    One of the archipelago’s volcanos, Barcena, last erupted spectacularly in 1953, and another Evermann, in 1993. Both remain active today.

    Located on a mid-ocean ridge, the four islands, which were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2016, are uninhabited apart from navy personnel, and access is tightly restricted.

    Getting there takes about 24 hours or more by boat and few civilians visit apart from scuba drivers lured by giant manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins and sharks.

    Last month, an international team of 10 scientists carried out a week-long mission whose aims included trying to determine if—or more likely when—there will be another volcanic eruption.

    “What we’re trying to find is how explosive these volcanos can be and how dangerous,” said the group’s leader, Douwe van Hinsbergen, a professor at Utrecht University [Universiteit Utrecht] (NL).

    Challenging convention

    The worry is that something similar to the cataclysmic eruption of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai volcano in January could send a tsunami hurtling towards Mexico’s Pacific Coast.

    Located in the Pacific Ocean hundreds of kilometers from the Mexican coast, the Revillagigedo Islands are known as “Mexico’s Galapagos” due to their isolation and biodiversity.

    “Whenever there are active island volcanos, there are always possibilities of generating tsunamis,” said Pablo Davila Harris, a geologist at Mexico’s Institute for Scientific and Technological Research of San Luis Potosi [Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica] (MX).

    “What we volcanologists are looking for is when the next eruption is going to happen,” using modeling based on previous volcanic activity, he added.

    The team also hopes that its analysis of minerals brought up by past eruptions will help to understand the motion of tectonic plates, which cause earthquakes and volcanic activity.

    “Plates move over mantle. Is the mantle pushing the plates? Is the mantle doing nothing?” van Hinsbergen said.

    According to conventional theory convection—the mantle’s motion caused by the transfer of heat from the Earth’s core to the outer layer—causes tectonic plates to move and grind against each other.

    Van Hinsbergen’s hypothesis is that the mantle is in fact “a big lake of rock that is essentially not convecting,” which he said would require a complete rethink.

    “If that is true, then everything that we see, at least on timescales of tens of millions of years and shorter, is driven by gravity pulling plates down. And that would make the whole system a lot simpler,” he said.

    The mission received funding from a Dutch program for—in van Hinsbergen’s words—”ideas that are almost certainly wrong but if they’re not they will have big implications.”

    The samples collected have been taken to Europe for analysis and the results are expected to be known later this year.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    About Science X in 100 words
    Science X is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004 (Physorg.com), Science X’s readership has grown steadily to include 5 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Science X publishes approximately 200 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Science X community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.

    Mission: 12 reasons for reading daily news on Science X Organization Key editors and writers include 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Phys.org publishes approximately 100 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Quancast 2009 includes Phys.org in its list of the Global Top 2,000 Websites. Phys.org community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, RSS/XML feeds, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.

  • richardmitnick 10:05 am on April 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Neural network model helps predict site-specific impacts of earthquakes", Earthquake science, Hiroshima University[広島大学](JP), Horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios (MHVR) which is usually used to estimate the resonant frequency of the seismic ground., In disaster mitigation planning for future large earthquakes seismic ground motion predictions are a crucial part of early warning systems and seismic hazard mapping., The study used 2012-2020 microtremor data from 105 sites in the Chugoku district of western Japan.   

    From Hiroshima University[広島大学](JP): “Neural network model helps predict site-specific impacts of earthquakes” 

    From Hiroshima University[広島大学](JP)


    In disaster mitigation planning for future large earthquakes seismic ground motion predictions are a crucial part of early warning systems and seismic hazard mapping. The way the ground moves depends on how the soil layers amplify the seismic waves (described in a mathematical site “amplification factor”). However, geophysical explorations to understand soil conditions are costly, limiting characterization of site amplification factors to date.

    A new study by researchers from Hiroshima University published on April 5 in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America introduced a novel artificial intelligence (AI)-based technique for estimating site amplification factors from data on ambient vibrations or microtremors of the ground.

    AI in computer automatically estimates site amplification factor from observed microtremor data. Displays show the source code and results of the estimation. Photo courtesy of Hiroyuki Miura, Hiroshima University.

    Subsurface soil conditions, which determine how earthquakes affect a site, vary substantially. Softer soils, for example, tend to amplify ground motion from an earthquake, while hard substrates may dampen it. Ambient vibrations of the ground or microtremors that occur all over the Earth’s surface caused by human or atmospheric disturbances can be used to investigate soil conditions. Measuring microtremors provides valuable information about the amplification factor (AF) of a site, thus its vulnerability to damage from earthquakes due to its response to tremors.

    The recent study from Hiroshima University researchers introduced a new way to estimate site effects from microtremor data. “The proposed method would contribute to more accurate and more detailed seismic ground motion predictions for future earthquakes,” says lead author and associate professor Hiroyuki Miura in the Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering. The study investigated the relationship between microtremor data and site amplification factors using a deep neural network with the goal of developing a model that could be applied at any site worldwide.

    The photo shows microtremor sensor and laptop computer used in this study. Ambient vibrations observed by sensor are digitally recorded in computer through cable. The display of the computer shows three components of vibrations monitoring in real-time. Photo courtesy of Hiroyuki Miura, Hiroshima University.

    The researchers looked into a common method known as Horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios (MHVR) which is usually used to estimate the resonant frequency of the seismic ground. It can be generated from microtremor data; ambient seismic vibrations are analyzed in three dimensions to figure out the resonant frequency of sediment layers on top of bedrock as they vibrate. Previous research has shown, however, that MHVR cannot reliably be used directly as the site amplification factor. So, this study proposed a deep neural network model for estimating site amplification factors from the MHVR data.

    The study used 2012-2020 microtremor data from 105 sites in the Chugoku district of western Japan. The sites are part of Japan’s national seismograph network that contains about 1700 observation stations distributed in a uniform grid at 20 km intervals across Japan. Using a generalized spectral inversion technique, which separates out the parameters of source, propagation, and site, the researchers analyzed site-specific amplifications.

    Data from each site were divided into a training set, a validation set, and a test set. The training set were used to teach a deep neural network. The validation set were used in the network’s iterative optimization of a model to describe the relationship between the microtremor MHVRs and the site amplification factors. The test data were a completely unknown set used to evaluate the performance of the model.

    The model performed well on the test data, demonstrating its potential as a predictive tool for characterizing site amplification factors from microtremor data. However, notes Miura, “the number of training samples analyzed in this study (80) sites is still limited,” and should be expanded before assuming that the neural network model applies nationwide or globally. The researchers hope to further optimize the model with a larger dataset.

    Ambient vibrations of ground are being recorded at a seismic observation station of Kyoshin Network (K-NET), a nation-wide strong-motion seismograph network in Japan since 1996. Seismograph is installed inside white cage. Photo courtesy of Hiroyuki Miura, Hiroshima University.

    Rapid and cost-effective techniques are needed for more accurate seismic ground motion prediction since the relationship is not always linear. Explains Miura, “By applying the proposed method, site amplification factors can be automatically and accurately estimated from microtremor data observed at arbitrary site.” Going forward, the study authors aim to continue to refine advanced AI techniques to evaluate the nonlinear responses of the ground to earthquakes.

    Authors of the paper are Da Pan, Hiroyuki Miura, Tatsuo Kanno, Michiko Shigefuji, and Tetsuo Abiru.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Hiroshima University (広島大学](JP), in the Japanese cities of Higashihiroshima and Hiroshima, was established 1929 by the merger of a number of national educational institutions.

    Under the National School Establishment Law, Hiroshima University was established on May 31, 1949. After World War II, the school system in Japan was entirely reformed and each of the institutions of higher education under the pre-war system was reorganized. As a general rule, one national university was established in each prefecture, and Hiroshima University became a national university under the new system by combining the pre-war higher educational institutions in Hiroshima Prefecture.

    The new university combined eight component institutions: Hiroshima University of Literature and Science; Hiroshima School of Secondary Education; Hiroshima School of Education; Hiroshima Women’s School of Secondary Education; Hiroshima School of Education for Youth; Hiroshima Higher School; Hiroshima Higher Technical School; and Hiroshima Municipal Higher Technical School. In 1953, the Hiroshima Prefectural Medical College was added to the new Hiroshima University.

    Some of these institutions were already notable. Above all, Hiroshima School of Secondary Education, founded in 1902, had a distinguished place as one of the nation’s two centers for training middle school teachers. The Hiroshima University of Literature and Science was founded in 1929 as one of the national universities and, with the Hiroshima School of Secondary Education which was formerly affiliated to it, were highly notable.

    The present Hiroshima University, which was created from these two institutions as well as three other “old-system” training institutions for teachers, continues to hold an important position among the universities and colleges in Japan. Hiroshima Higher Technical School, which has many alumnae in the manufacturing industry, was founded in 1920 and was promoted to a Technical College (Senmon Gakko) in 1944. Hiroshima Higher School was founded in 1923 as one of the pre-war higher schools which prepared students for Imperial and other government-supported universities. Although these institutions suffered a great deal of damage due to the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, they were reconstructed and combined to become the new Hiroshima University. Graduate schools were established in 1953. After completing the reconstruction, in order to seek wider campus, the relocation to local area (Higashihiroshima) was planned and decided by 1972. Hiroshima University relocated to Higashihiroshima from Hiroshima City between 1982 and 1995. In Hiroshima City, there are still some Campuses (School of Medicine; School of Dentistry; School of Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Graduate School in these fields in Kasumi Campus; Law School; and Center for Research on Regional Economic System in Higashi-Senda Campus).

  • richardmitnick 3:33 pm on April 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A swarm of 85000 earthquakes at the Antarctic Orca submarine volcano", , At the same time as the swarm a lateral ground displacement of more than ten centimetres and a small uplift of about one centimetre was recorded on neighbouring King George Island., , Earthquake science, , , Seismicity first migrated upward and then laterally., , The end of the swarm can be explained by the loss of pressure in the magma dike accompanying the slip of a large fault., The scientists identify a magma intrusion-the migration of a larger volume of magma-as the main cause of the swarm quake., The swarm peaked with two large earthquakes on 2 October (Mw 5.9) and 6 November (Mw 6.0) 2020 before subsiding.,   

    From GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam (DE): “A swarm of 85000 earthquakes at the Antarctic Orca submarine volcano” 

    From GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam (DE)


    Scientific contact:

    Dr. Simone Cesca
    Section 2.1 Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanos
    Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
    GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
    14473 Potsdam
    Phone: +49 331 288-28794
    Email: simone.cesca@gfz-potsdam.de

    Media contact:

    Dr. Uta Deffke
    Public and Media Relations
    Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
    GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
    14473 Potsdam
    Phone: +49 331 288-1049
    Email: uta.deffke@gfz-potsdam.de

    The Carlini base on King George Island, hosting the seismometer located closest to the seismic region, and the Bransfield Strait. Photo: Milton Percy/Plasencia Linares.

    Illustration of the seismically active zone off Antactica. (CC BY 4.0: Cesca et al. 2022; nature Commun Earth Environ 3, 89 (2022).


    Volcanoes can be found even off the coast of Antarctica. At the deep-sea volcano Orca, which has been inactive for a long time, a sequence of more than 85,000 earthquakes was registered in 2020, a swarm quake that reached proportions not previously observed for this region. The fact that such events can be studied and described in great detail even in such remote and therefore poorly instrumented areas is now shown by the study of an international team published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment. Led by Simone Cesca from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) Potsdam, researchers from Germany, Italy, Poland and the United States were involved. With the combined application of seismological, geodetic and remote sensing techniques, they were able to determine how the rapid transfer of magma from the Earth’s mantle near the crust-mantle boundary to almost the surface led to the swarm quake.

    The Orca volcano between the tip of South America and Antarctica

    Swarm quakes mainly occur in volcanically active regions. The movement of fluids in the Earth’s crust is therefore suspected as the cause. Orca seamount is a large submarine shield volcano with a height of about 900 metres above the sea floor and a base diameter of about 11 kilometres. It is located in the Bransfield Strait, an ocean channel between the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands, southwest of the southern tip of Argentina.

    “In the past, seismicity in this region was moderate. However, in August 2020, an intense seismic swarm began there, with more than 85,000 earthquakes within half a year. It represents the largest seismic unrest ever recorded there,” reports Simone Cesca, scientist in GFZ’s Section 2.1 Earthquake and Volcano Physics and lead author of the now published study. At the same time as the swarm, a lateral ground displacement of more than ten centimetres and a small uplift of about one centimetre was recorded on neighbouring King George Island.

    Challenges of research in a remote area
    Cesca studied these events with colleagues from The National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics [Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale](IT) and The University of Bologna [Alma mater studiorum – Università di Bologna](IT), The Polish Academy of Sciences [Polska Akademia Nauk](PL), Leibniz University Hannover [Leibniz Universität Hannover](DE), The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE) and The University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE). The challenge was that there are few conventional seismological instruments in the remote area, namely only two seismic and two GNSS stations (ground stations of the Global Navigation Satellite System which measure ground displacement). In order to reconstruct the chronology and development of the unrest and to determine its cause, the team therefore additionally analysed data from farther seismic stations and data from InSAR—USGS satellites, which use radar interferometry to measure ground displacements. An important step was the modelling of the events with a number of geophysical methods in order to interpret the data correctly.

    Reconstructing the seismic events

    The researchers backdated the start of the unrest to 10 August 2020 and extend the original global seismic catalog, containing only 128 earthquakes, to more than 85,000 events. The swarm peaked with two large earthquakes on 2 October (Mw 5.9) and 6 November (Mw 6.0) 2020 before subsiding. By February 2021, seismic activity had decreased significantly.

    The scientists identify a magma intrusion, the migration of a larger volume of magma, as the main cause of the swarm quake, because seismic processes alone cannot explain the observed strong surface deformation on King George Island. The presence of a volumetric magma intrusion can be confirmed independently on the basis of geodetic data.

    Starting from its origin, seismicity first migrated upward and then laterally: deeper, clustered earthquakes are interpreted as the response to vertical magma propagation from a reservoir in the upper mantle or at the crust-mantle boundary, while shallower, crustal earthquakes extend NE-SW triggered on top of the laterally growing magma dike, which reaches a length of about 20 kilometres.

    The seismicity decreased abruptly by mid November, after about three months of sustained activity, in correspondence to the occurrence of the largest earthquakes of the series, with a magnitude Mw 6.0. The end of the swarm can be explained by the loss of pressure in the magma dike, accompanying the slip of a large fault, and could mark the timing of a seafloor eruption which, however, could not yet be confirmed by other data.

    By modeling GNSS and InSAR data, the scientists estimated that the volume of the Bransfield magmatic intrusion is in the range 0.26-0.56 km³. That makes this episode also the largest magmatic unrest ever geophysically monitored in Antarctica.


    Simone Cesca resumes: “Our study represents a new successful investigation of a seismo-volcanic unrest at a remote location on Earth, where the combined application of seismology, geodesy and remote sensing techniques are used to understand earthquake processes and magma transport in poorly instrumented areas. This is one of the few cases where we can use geophysical tools to observe intrusion of magma from the upper mantle or crust-mantle boundary into the shallow crust – a rapid transfer of magma from the mantle to almost the surface that takes only a few days.”

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

    The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (DE)

    Our vision

    The future can only be secured by those who understand the System Earth and its interactions with Man: We develop a profound understanding of systems and processes of the solid Earth together with strategies and options for action to address global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, as well as to assess the human impact on System Earth.
    Earth System Science for the Future

    The GFZ is Germany’s national research center for the solid Earth Sciences. Our mission is to deepen the knowledge of the dynamics of the solid Earth, and to develop solutions for grand challenges facing society. These challenges include anticipating the hazards arising from the Earth’s dynamic systems and mitigating the associated risks to society; securing our habitat under the pressure of global change; and supplying energy and mineral resources for a rapidly growing population in a sustainable manner and without harming the environment.

    These challenges are inextricably linked with the dynamics of planet Earth, not just the solid Earth and the surface on which we live, but also the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, and the chemical, physical, and biological processes that connect them. Hence, we view our planet as a system with interacting components. We investigate the structure and history of the Earth, its properties, and the dynamics of its interior and surface, and we use our fundamental understanding to develop solutions needed to maintain planet Earth as a safe and supportive habitat.

    Our expertise

    In pursuit of our mission, we have developed a comprehensive spectrum of expertise in geodesy, geophysics, geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, physics, geomorphology, geobiosciences, mathematics, and engineering. This is complemented by our deep methodological and technological knowhow and innovation. We are responsible for the long-term operation of expansive instrument networks, arrays and observatories, as well as data and analytical infrastructures. To accomplish our large-scale tasks, we have established MESI, the worldwide unique Modular Earth Science Infrastructure.

    Our research is organized in a matrix structure, with disciplinary competences grouped in four scientific departments. The departments guarantee the development and continuity of disciplinary skills, methods, and infrastructures. This is an indispensable foundation for our ability to engage with evolving scientific insights, new technologies, and unexpected, pressing challenges of societal relevance.

    The grand challenges and the complexity of system Earth on the other hand, require a close multidisciplinary interaction and integration across scientific competence fields to secure advances in understanding and solutions. For these reasons, and to achieve our scientific mission, we coordinate our research via five Research Units (RU) that foster the required long-term research collaborations and that transcend the organizational / management units. These five RUs are:

    Global Processes – Integrated monitoring and modelling: How are linked processes controlling the global dynamics of the Earth and change in the Earth System?

    Plate Boundary Systems – Understanding the dynamics that affect the human habitat: How do the dynamic processes of the solid Earth’s most dynamic systems function and how do they control related hazards and resource formation?

    Earth Surface and Climate Interactions – Probing records to constrain mechanisms and sensitivities: How does climate change today and in the past affect the Earth surface and how do surface processes, in turn, influence the atmosphere and climate?

    Natural Hazards – Understanding risks and safeguarding the human habitat: How can we better predict and understand natural hazards, their dynamics, and their consequences?

    Georesources and Geoenergy – Raw materials and contributions to the energy transition: How can georesources and the geological subsurface be used in a sustainable way?

  • richardmitnick 10:18 am on March 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: " ‘Triplet’ earthquakes strike near Tohoku in Japan but a rupture gap remains", , , Earthquake science, ,   

    From temblor: ” ‘Triplet’ earthquakes strike near Tohoku in Japan but a rupture gap remains” 


    From temblor

    March 19, 2022

    Shinji Toda, Ph.D., IRIDeS, Tohoku University (東北大学](JP)
    Ross S. Stein, Ph.D., Temblor, Inc.

    Wednesday’s magnitude-7.3 quake, which shook large parts of Honshu and knocked out power to Tokyo, is the latest in a series of large aftershocks from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.

    On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, a magnitude-7.3 shock struck 40 kilometers (25 miles) off the Tohoku Prefecture coast, causing strong shaking and damage to infrastructure and buildings. Three people were killed and 180 injured. Strong shaking reached Sendai and the Tohoku coastal cities, and power was knocked out for roughly 12 hours across Kanto, 330 kilometers (200 miles) away. A Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train with about 80 passengers on board derailed, fortunately with no loss of life.

    This quake is just one of a series of large shocks to strike the Honshu coast in the last decade. These events are signs that Earth’s crust is readjusting itself after the magnitude-9.0 Great Tohoku earthquake in 2011.

    Twin quakes rupture

    Wednesday’s quake struck just 7 kilometers (12 miles) southwest of a magnitude-7.1 that struck a year before, on February 12, 2021. The 2021 event ruptured mostly southward, along a 45-kilometer (27-mile) section of fault within the subducting Pacific tectonic plate.

    Map of the Pacific plate
    4 May 2015

    Wednesday’s event ruptured at a similar depth, but propagated to the north. The ruptured patches of these two quakes partially overlap. Wednesday’s earthquake essentially doubled the length of fault that ruptured in 2021 (the combined extent of blue and magenta shocks in figure below). Earthquakes that strike near one another in space and time — so called “twin” or “doublet” earthquakes — are surprisingly common worldwide (Kagan and Jackson, 1999). They likely occur when faults re-rupture after a previous quake failed to relieve all the accumulated stress.

    he first 24 hours of aftershocks for three large intra-slab quakes that have struck the Tohoku coast since the Great Tohoku magnitude-9.0 shock in 2011, whose rupture surface lies to the right (east) of this map.

    Earthquakes in the subducting Pacific plate

    Both the 2021 and 2022 earthquakes occurred along faults within the Pacific plate, where it descends beneath the main Japanese island of Honshu. These faults are either tears that formed as the Pacific plate is bent downwards, or old faults in the ocean crust that are reactivated as the plate is compressed during subduction. Earthquakes that strike along these faults are called ‘intra-slab’ events and they occur in subduction zones around the world. Events can be as large as magnitude-8.0. Although they often are not as devastating as the largest megathrust earthquakes, they can cause tsunamis and widespread damage.

    In contrast, the 2011 magnitude-9.1 Tohoku event was a “megathrust” earthquake, which struck 120 kilometers (70 miles) to the northeast of Wednesday’s epicenter. During the 2011 event, the Pacific plate slid under Honshu about 30 meters (100 feet) in the span of 200 seconds.

    Triplets leave a rupture gap

    But there’s more to the story, because a month after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, a magnitude-7.1 intra-slab earthquake struck, 60 kilometers (36 miles) north of Wednesday’s epicenter (Ohta et al, 2011). That event ruptured a 30-km tear in the Pacific plate. The southern end of that rupture ends about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the ruptured area of Wednesday’s quake. Between these sections that has not ruptured in a major way in recent history.

    Earthquakes are promoted when a nearby shock deforms the surrounding crust in such a matter as to either unclamp a fault, or increases its shear stress; this is called the Coulomb hypothesis. When we calculate the areas in which stress increased following these three recent earthquakes, the gap lights up in red: It has been brought significantly closer to failure, and so is a likely candidate for a future earthquake in this sequence. But there are also other areas, such as to the north of the 2011 M 7.1 shock, where failure is also promoted.

    The Coulomb stress imparted by the three intra-slab events since 2011. The imparted stress is very high in the apparent gap between the 2011 and 2022 events, but it is also high surrounding these ruptures. This is an idealized view of the surrounding faults, which assumes they are all roughly parallel to the three past ruptures.

    But we know that faults are not simple, parallel surfaces as assumed in the figure above. Where we have the best data and field evidence, faults have a diversity of lengths and orientations on many scales, and are even sometimes described as a fractal distribution. So, how can we capture this natural complexity in our forecast models? We do so by using past shocks, even tiny ones, to tell us where faults are, and how they are oriented.

    We show a messier — but we believe more accurate — picture of the stress imparted on faults by the three intra-slab earthquakes in the figure below. We represent the orientation of faults on which past earthquakes have occurred by beachballs. Red beachballs indicate faults were brought closer to failure — the point at which an earthquake occurs. Blue beachballs indicate faults inhibited from failure (Toda and Stein, 2021). A group of red beachballs to the north of Wednesday’s event is apparent, reinforcing our view that this gap is the most likely candidate for the next shock in the sequence, should it continue. But there is plenty of red to the southeast of the 2021 and 2022 ruptures as well. Fortunately, if an earthquake were to strike in the areas southeast of the recent ruptures, shaking in coastal communities would be less than if a quake closer.

    The stress imparted by the three intra-slab quakes on the surrounding faults, as identified by past earthquake focal mechanisms (beachballs). Red beachballs are likely sites for subsequent shocks.

    Shaking reproducibility

    The three recent intra-slab shocks, each about 50 kilometers (30 miles) offshore and about 60 kilometers (35 miles) deep, provide a rare natural experiment on the reproducibility of strong shaking from one quake to the next. The Japan Meteorological Agency [気象庁](JP) operates a dense network of shaking intensity sensors throughout the country. The intensity records of the three events, shown below, are remarkably consistent, with a similar distribution of shaking and roughly the same number of peak shaking records (JMA Intensity 6+, which corresponds to a peak ground acceleration of about 0.5 g, the level at which major damage is expected). This means that we can forecast the shaking with some confidence. Of course, had these shocks been shallower or closer to the coast, the shaking and damage would have been much higher.

    But there is a catch. The intensity meters measure the peak shaking, not how long it lasts. The shaking intensities recorded by the 2011 magnitude-9.1 Tohoku earthquake are greater than for the 2021-2022 shocks, but only by about 15-50%, even though the magnitude-9.1 was almost 1,000 times larger than the recent event. The difference lies in the duration of strong shaking, which lasted for about three minutes in the Tohoku quake, and just 15 seconds for the magnitude-7 shocks. Bend a paper clip once, and it will be fine. Bend it back and forth ten times, and it breaks: long durations cause buildings to fatigue.

    The shaking intensities for the three M 7.1-7.3 shocks, each about 50 km offshore and about 60 kilometers deep, are all very similar to each other. This is good news for our ability to model and forecast shaking and the damage it causes.

    Why the flurry of shocks?

    Although it seems remarkable that the Tohoku coastal region has been hit by three large shocks since the 2011 quake, in our view, they are all aftershocks of the Tohoku earthquake (we show evidence for this in Toda and Stein, 2021). In our judgment, more quakes are likely, albeit at a decreasing rate, for decades.


    Y. Y. Kagan and D. D. Jackson (1999), Worldwide doublets of large shallow earthquakes, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Amer., 89, 1147-1155.

    Yusaku Ohta, Satoshi Miura, Mako Ohzono, Saeko Kita, Takeshi Iinuma, Tomotsugu Demachi, Kenji Tachibana, Takashi Nakayama, Satoshi Hirahara, Syuichi Suzuki, Toshiya Sato, Naoki Uchida, Akira Hasegawa, and Norihito Umino (2011), Large intraslab earthquake (2011 April 7, M 7.1) after the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake (M 9.0): Coseismic fault model based on the dense GPS network data, Earth Planets Space, 63, 1207–1211.

    Toda, S., Stein, R.S. (2021), Recent large Japan quakes are aftershocks of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, Temblor, http://doi.org/10.32858/temblor.175

    See the full article https://temblor.net/earthquake-insights/triplet-earthquakes-strike-near-tohoku-japan-but-a-rupture-gap-remains-13983/ .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    Earthquake Alert


    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network projectEarthquake Network is a research project which aims at developing and maintaining a crowdsourced smartphone-based earthquake warning system at a global level. Smartphones made available by the population are used to detect the earthquake waves using the on-board accelerometers. When an earthquake is detected, an earthquake warning is issued in order to alert the population not yet reached by the damaging waves of the earthquake.

    The project started on January 1, 2013 with the release of the homonymous Android application Earthquake Network. The author of the research project and developer of the smartphone application is Francesco Finazzi of the University of Bergamo, Italy.

    Get the app in the Google Play store.

    Smartphone network spatial distribution (green and red dots) on December 4, 2015

    Meet The Quake-Catcher Network

    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.


    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan



    About Early Warning Labs, LLC

    Early Warning Labs, LLC (EWL) is an Earthquake Early Warning technology developer and integrator located in Santa Monica, CA. EWL is partnered with industry leading GIS provider ESRI, Inc. and is collaborating with the US Government and university partners.

    EWL is investing millions of dollars over the next 36 months to complete the final integration and delivery of Earthquake Early Warning to individual consumers, government entities, and commercial users.

    EWL’s mission is to improve, expand, and lower the costs of the existing earthquake early warning systems.

    EWL is developing a robust cloud server environment to handle low-cost mass distribution of these warnings. In addition, Early Warning Labs is researching and developing automated response standards and systems that allow public and private users to take pre-defined automated actions to protect lives and assets.

    EWL has an existing beta R&D test system installed at one of the largest studios in Southern California. The goal of this system is to stress test EWL’s hardware, software, and alert signals while improving latency and reliability.

    Earthquake Early Warning Introduction

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with state agencies, university partners, and private industry, is developing an earthquake early warning system (EEW) for the West Coast of the United States called ShakeAlert. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program aims to mitigate earthquake losses in the United States. Citizens, first responders, and engineers rely on the USGS for accurate and timely information about where earthquakes occur, the ground shaking intensity in different locations, and the likelihood is of future significant ground shaking.

    The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System recently entered its first phase of operations. The USGS working in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is now allowing for the testing of public alerting via apps, Wireless Emergency Alerts, and by other means throughout California.

    ShakeAlert partners in Oregon and Washington are working with the USGS to test public alerting in those states sometime in 2020.

    ShakeAlert has demonstrated the feasibility of earthquake early warning, from event detection to producing USGS issued ShakeAlerts ® and will continue to undergo testing and will improve over time. In particular, robust and reliable alert delivery pathways for automated actions are currently being developed and implemented by private industry partners for use in California, Oregon, and Washington.

    Earthquake Early Warning Background

    The objective of an earthquake early warning system is to rapidly detect the initiation of an earthquake, estimate the level of ground shaking intensity to be expected, and issue a warning before significant ground shaking starts. A network of seismic sensors detects the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, and the location and the magnitude of the earthquake is rapidly determined. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated. The system can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, which brings the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage. Warnings will be distributed to local and state public emergency response officials, critical infrastructure, private businesses, and the public. EEW systems have been successfully implemented in Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, and other nations with varying degrees of sophistication and coverage.

    Earthquake early warning can provide enough time to:

    Instruct students and employees to take a protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On
    Initiate mass notification procedures
    Open fire-house doors and notify local first responders
    Slow and stop trains and taxiing planes
    Install measures to prevent/limit additional cars from going on bridges, entering tunnels, and being on freeway overpasses before the shaking starts
    Move people away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments
    Shut down gas lines, water treatment plants, or nuclear reactors
    Automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems

    However, earthquake warning notifications must be transmitted without requiring human review and response action must be automated, as the total warning times are short depending on geographic distance and varying soil densities from the epicenter.

  • richardmitnick 9:23 pm on March 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Groundbreaking earthquake discovery-Risk models overlook an important element", , , Earthquake science, Earthquakes themselves affect the movement of Earth's tectonic plates which in turn could impact on future earthquakes., If a tectonic plate shifts direction or moves at a different rate than before this potentially impacts onto the seismicity of its margins with neighboring plates., The behavior of tectonic plates can change following an earthquake., , With the advent of geodesy in Geosciences and the extensive and ever-growing use of GPS devices over the last 20 years we can track plate motion changes over year-long periods.   

    From The University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet](DK) via phys.org: “Groundbreaking earthquake discovery-Risk models overlook an important element” 

    From The University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet](DK)



    Earthquakes themselves affect the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates which in turn could impact on future earthquakes, according to new research from the University of Copenhagen. This new knowledge should be incorporated in computer models used to gauge earthquake risk, according to the researchers behind the study.

    Like a gigantic puzzle, Earth’s tectonic plates divide the surface of our planet into larger and smaller pieces. These pieces are in constant motion due to the fluid-like part of Earth’s mantle, upon which they slowly sail. These movements regularly trigger earthquakes, some of which can devastate cities and cost thousands of lives. In 1999, the strongest European earthquake in recent years struck the town of İzmit, Turkey—taking the lives of 17,000 of its residents.

    Among researchers and earthquake experts, it is well accepted that earthquakes are caused by a one-way mechanism: as plates move against one another, energy is slowly accrued along plate margins, and then suddenly released via earthquakes. This happens time and again over decades- or century-long intervals, in a constant stick-slip motion.

    But in a new study, published in Geophysical Journal International, researchers from the Geology Section at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management demonstrate that the behavior of tectonic plates can change following an earthquake.

    Using extensive GPS data and analysis of the 1999 İzmit earthquake, the researchers have been able to conclude that the Anatolian continental plate that Turkey sits upon has changed direction since the earthquake. Data also show that this influenced the frequency of quakes around Turkey after 1999.

    “It appears that the link between plate motion—earthquake occurrence is not a one-way street. Earthquakes themselves feed back, as they can cause plates to move differently afterwards,” explains the study’s lead author, postdoc Juan Martin De Blas, who adds:

    “As the plate movements change, it somewhat affects the pattern of the later earthquakes. If a tectonic plate shifts direction or moves at a different rate than before this potentially impacts onto the seismicity of its margins with neighboring plates.”

    Quake models can be improved

    According to the researchers, the new findings provide a clear basis for reevaluating the risk models that interpret data gathered from the monitoring of tectonic plate movements. This data is used to assess the risk of future earthquakes in terms of probability, somehow like the nice/bad weather forecast.

    “An important aspect of these models is that they operate under the assumption that plate movements remain constant. With this study, we can see that this isn’t the case. Therefore, the models can now be further evolved so they take the feedback mechanism that occurs following an earthquake into account, where plates shift direction and speed,” says Associate Professor Giampiero Iaffaldano, the study’s co-author.

    The assumption that plate movements are constant has largely been a “necessary” assumption according to the researchers, because monitoring plate motions over period of few years was once impossible. But with the advent of geodesy in Geosciences and the extensive and ever-growing use of GPS devices over the last 20 years we can track plate motion changes over year-long periods.

    Could make us better at assessing risk

    How tectonic plates are monitored varies greatly from place to place. Often GPS transmitters are positioned preferentially near the edges of a tectonic plate. This allows public agencies and researchers to track the movement of plate boundaries. But according to the researchers, we can also benefit from even more GPS devices continuously monitoring plate interiors, away from their margins.

    “Plate boundaries undergo constant deformation and poorly represent the movement of plates as a whole. Therefore, GPS data from monitors positioned farther away from the plate boundaries should be used to a much greater degree. This can better inform us weather plates are changing motion and how, and provide information useful for assessing the risk of future events somewhere other than the known hot-spots,” says Giampiero Iaffaldano.

    The researchers point out that their study is limited to the Anatolian continental plate, as the İzmit earthquake is one of the few event for which a combination of sufficient seismic and GPS data is available. However, they expect that the picture is the same for other tectonic plates around the planet.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Copenhagen campus

    The University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet] (DK)] is a public research university in Copenhagen, Denmark. Founded in 1479, the University of Copenhagen is the second-oldest university in Scandinavia, and ranks as one of the top universities in the Nordic countries and Europe.

    Its establishment sanctioned by Pope Sixtus IV, the University of Copenhagen was founded by Christian I of Denmark as a Catholic teaching institution with a predominantly theological focus. After 1537, it became a Lutheran seminary under King Christian III. Up until the 18th century, the university was primarily concerned with educating clergymen. Through various reforms in the 18th and 19th century, the University of Copenhagen was transformed into a modern, secular university, with science and the humanities replacing theology as the main subjects studied and taught.

    The University of Copenhagen consists of six different faculties, with teaching taking place in its four distinct campuses, all situated in Copenhagen. The university operates 36 different departments and 122 separate research centres in Copenhagen, as well as a number of museums and botanical gardens in and outside the Danish capital. The University of Copenhagen also owns and operates multiple research stations around Denmark, with two additional ones located in Greenland. Additionally, The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the public hospitals of the Capital and Zealand Region of Denmark constitute the conglomerate Copenhagen University Hospital.

    A number of prominent scientific theories and schools of thought are namesakes of the University of Copenhagen. The famous Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics was conceived at the Niels Bohr Institute [Niels Bohr Institutet](DK), which is part of the university. The Department of Political Science birthed the Copenhagen School of Security Studies which is also named after the university. Others include the Copenhagen School of Theology and the Copenhagen School of Linguistics.

    As of October 2020, 39 Nobel laureates and 1 Turing Award laureate have been affiliated with the University of Copenhagen as students, alumni or faculty. Alumni include one president of the United Nations General Assembly and at least 24 prime ministers of Denmark. The University of Copenhagen fosters entrepreneurship, and between 5 and 6 start-ups are founded by students, alumni or faculty members each week.


    The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge (UK), Yale University (US), The Australian National University (AU), and University of California, Berkeley(US), amongst others. The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Scandinavia and 30th in the world, the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings as 120th in the world, and the 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings as 68th in the world. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient.

    The University of Copenhagen was founded in 1479 and is the oldest university in Denmark. In 1474, Christian I of Denmark journeyed to Rome to visit Pope Sixtus IV, whom Christian I hoped to persuade into issuing a papal bull permitting the establishment of university in Denmark. Christian I failed to persuade the pope to issue the bull however and the king returned to Denmark the same year empty-handed. In 1475 Christian I’s wife Dorothea of Brandenburg Queen of Denmark made the same journey to Rome as her husband did a year before. Unlike Christian I Dorothea managed to persuade Pope Sixtus IV into issuing the papal bull. On the 19th of June, 1475 Pope Sixtus IV issued an official papal bull permitting the establishment of what was to become the University of Copenhagen.

    On the 4th of October, 1478 Christian I of Denmark issued a royal decree by which he officially established the University of Copenhagen. In this decree Christian I set down the rules and laws governing the university. The royal decree elected magistar Peder Albertsen as vice chancellor of the university and the task was his to employ various learned scholars at the new university and thereby establish its first four faculties: theology; law; medicine; and philosophy. The royal decree made the University of Copenhagen enjoy royal patronage from its very beginning. Furthermore, the university was explicitly established as an autonomous institution giving it a great degree of juridical freedom. As such the University of Copenhagen was to be administered without royal interference and it was not subject to the usual laws governing the Danish people.

    The University of Copenhagen was closed by the Church in 1531 to stop the spread of Protestantism and re-established in 1537 by King Christian III after the Lutheran Reformation and transformed into an evangelical-Lutheran seminary. Between 1675 and 1788 the university introduced the concept of degree examinations. An examination for theology was added in 1675 followed by law in 1736. By 1788 all faculties required an examination before they would issue a degree.

    In 1807 the British Bombardment of Copenhagen destroyed most of the university’s buildings. By 1836 however the new main building of the university was inaugurated amid extensive building that continued until the end of the century. The University Library (now a part of the Royal Library); the Zoological Museum; the Geological Museum; the Botanic Garden with greenhouses; and the Technical College were also established during this period.

    Between 1842 and 1850 the faculties at the university were restructured. Starting in 1842 the University Faculty of Medicine and the Academy of Surgeons merged to form the Faculty of Medical Science while in 1848 the Faculty of Law was reorganised and became the Faculty of Jurisprudence and Political Science. In 1850 the Faculty of Mathematics and Science was separated from the Faculty of Philosophy. In 1845 and 1862 Copenhagen co-hosted nordic student meetings with Lund University [Lunds universitet] (SE).

    The first female student was enrolled at the university in 1877. The university underwent explosive growth between 1960 and 1980. The number of students rose from around 6,000 in 1960 to about 26,000 in 1980 with a correspondingly large growth in the number of employees. Buildings built during this time period include the new Zoological Museum; the Hans Christian Ørsted and August Krogh Institutes; the campus centre on Amager Island; and the Panum Institute.

    The new university statute instituted in 1970 involved democratisation of the management of the university. It was modified in 1973 and subsequently applied to all higher education institutions in Denmark. The democratisation was later reversed with the 2003 university reforms. Further change in the structure of the university from 1990 to 1993 made a Bachelor’s degree programme mandatory in virtually all subjects.

    Also in 1993 the law departments broke off from the Faculty of Social Sciences to form a separate Faculty of Law. In 1994 the University of Copenhagen designated environmental studies; north–south relations; and biotechnology as areas of special priority according to its new long-term plan. Starting in 1996 and continuing to the present the university planned new buildings including for the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Humanities at Amager (Ørestaden) along with a Biotechnology Centre. By 1999 the student population had grown to exceed 35,000 resulting in the university appointing additional professors and other personnel.

    In 2003 the revised Danish university law removed faculty staff and students from the university decision process creating a top-down control structure that has been described as absolute monarchy since leaders are granted extensive powers while being appointed exclusively by higher levels in the organization.

    In 2005 the Center for Health and Society (Center for Sundhed og Samfund – CSS) opened in central Copenhagen housing the Faculty of Social Sciences and Institute of Public Health which until then had been located in various places throughout the city. In May 2006 the university announced further plans to leave many of its old buildings in the inner city of Copenhagen- an area that has been home to the university for more than 500 years. The purpose of this has been to gather the university’s many departments and faculties on three larger campuses in order to create a bigger more concentrated and modern student environment with better teaching facilities as well as to save money on rent and maintenance of the old buildings. The concentration of facilities on larger campuses also allows for more inter-disciplinary cooperation. For example the Departments of Political Science and Sociology are now located in the same facilities at CSS and can pool resources more easily.

    In January 2007 the University of Copenhagen merged with the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and the Danish University of Pharmaceutical Science. The two universities were converted into faculties under the University of Copenhagen and were renamed as the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. In January 2012 the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the veterinary third of the Faculty of Life Sciences merged with the Faculty of Health Sciences forming the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the other two thirds of the Faculty of Life Sciences were merged into the Faculty of Science.

    Cooperative agreements with other universities

    The university cooperates with universities around the world. In January 2006, the University of Copenhagen entered into a partnership of ten top universities, along with the Australian National University (AU), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich](CH), The National University of Singapore [Universiti Nasional Singapura] (SG), Peking University [北京大学](CN), University of California Berkeley (US), University of Cambridge (UK), University of Oxford (UK), University of Tokyo {東京大学](JP) and Yale University (US). The partnership is referred to as the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU).

    The Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics at University of Copenhagen signed a cooperation agreement with the Danish Royal School of Library and Information Science in 2009.

  • richardmitnick 9:20 pm on March 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Magnet for Megaquakes", , , , Earthquake science, , ,   

    From Discover Magazine : “A Magnet for Megaquakes” 


    From Discover Magazine

    Mar 7, 2022
    Donna Sarkar

    Over the last decade, Japan has been hit with more than 27 major earthquakes measuring at least a lower 6 on the country’s seismic intensity scale. While scientists and researchers have been scrambling to find why the region stands on such shaky ground, a recent study [Nature Geoscience] has provided a glimmer of hope.

    Researchers from the University of Texas believe they have found the culprit: a mountain-sized mass of igneous rock just beneath the coast of southern Japan. The mass, known as Kumano Pluton, was first discovered in 2006 [Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth].

    The Kumano Pluton in southern Japan appears as a red bulge (indicating dense rock) in the center of a new 3D visualization by The University of Texas at Austin. The pluton is large enough to interfere with the nearby Nankai subduction zone and the region’s earthquakes. Credit: Adrien Arnulf.

    However, the details remained a mystery until now.

    Recent findings reveal the mass has been acting as a magnet for earthquakes in the area. What does this discovery mean for the future of this vulnerable region? Let’s take a closer look.

    What Lies Below

    The beautiful island country of Japan falls along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region that’s as deadly as it sounds. Shaped like a long horseshoe, the Ring of Fire spreads across the edges of the Pacific Ocean and houses some of the most active volcanoes and earthquakes in the world. The region’s shaky nature is largely due to its location along plate boundaries.

    Essentially, plate boundaries are the edges where two slabs of rocks called tectonic plates meet. When these slabs of rock move or shift, it can lead to a very unsteady environment that gives rise to volcanoes and earthquakes.

    Japan’s position along the Ring of Fire was not a secret to scientists and researchers. However, one specific region in southwest Japan stood out – the Nankai subduction zone [Earth, Planets and Space]. The zone experienced enormous numbers of earthquakes relative to other areas, making the area of special interest to researchers. When the Kumano Pluton was discovered, it was found in the Nankai subduction zone through seismic imaging. The imaging indicated there was a mass of different density to the surrounding rock just off the coast of southern Japan – picture a mountain-sized slab of solidified rock deep within the Pacific Ocean.

    Initially, the discovery didn’t lead to any concrete answers on what could be causing numerous earthquakes in the region. Now, after two decades of analyzing seismic data from the Nankai subduction zone, scientists are able to fully visualize the destructive structure through a full, high-resolution model of the rock [VigourTimes].

    Preparing for Shaky Ground

    How does a mountain-sized mass act as a magnet for megaquakes[FutureLearn]? The answer was uncovered when a team of University of Texas-led experts used a supercomputer to sift more than 20 years of data and located the Kumano Pluton between 3 to 12 miles (4.8 to 19.3 kilometers) below the coast of southern Japan.

    The study [Nature Geoscience] indicates the giant rock may have been re-routing tectonic energy [Nature Geoscience above] to several points on its sides. This, combined with the new images of the ​​Kumano Pluton that reveal how dense and rigid the rock is, shows us how this massive structure was responsible for mass destruction.

    Between 1944 and 1946, megaquakes with magnitudes higher than 8 [VigourTimes above] occurred just along the sides of the Kumano Pluton. While earthquakes are common in this region, the threat of a massive megaquake still haunts the Nankai subduction zone.

    Luckily, geophysicist Shuichi Kodaira of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology in Japan notes that this discovery could aid in future earthquake prevention efforts. “We cannot predict exactly when, where, or how large future earthquakes will be, but by combining our model with monitoring data, we can begin estimating near-future processes,” said Kodaira in a press release. “That will provide very important data for the Japanese public to prepare for the next big earthquake.”

    The discovery of this mountain-sized mass shows how little we know about pieces of Earth that cause such massive destruction. But with the right tools, we can have a shot at stabilizing a shaky disaster.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 9:26 am on February 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New model may improve Bay Area seismic hazard maps according to Stanford researchers", , , Earthquake science, , ,   

    From Stanford University (US) and Stanford University School of Earth Energy & Environmental Sciences : “New model may improve Bay Area seismic hazard maps according to Stanford researchers” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University (US)



    Stanford University School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

    Curtis Baden
    School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

    George Hilley
    School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
    (650) 723-2782

    Danielle Torrent Tucker
    School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
    (650) 497-9541

    Using the Santa Cruz Mountains as a natural laboratory, researchers have built a 3D tectonic model that clarifies the link between earthquakes and mountain building along the San Andreas fault for the first time. The findings may be used to improve seismic hazard maps of the Bay Area.

    View of the Santa Cruz Mountains from Half Moon Bay. (Image credit: K Danko/Wikimedia Commons)

    The Santa Cruz Mountains define the geography of the Bay Area south of San Francisco, protecting the peninsula from the Pacific Ocean’s cold marine layer and forming the region’s notorious microclimates. The range also represents the perils of living in Silicon Valley: earthquakes along the San Andreas fault.

    In bursts that last seconds to minutes, earthquakes have moved the region’s surface meters at a time. But researchers have never been able to reconcile the quick release of the Earth’s stress and the bending of the Earth’s crust over years with the formation of mountain ranges over millions of years. Now, by combining geological, geophysical, geochemical and satellite data, geologists have created a 3D tectonic model that resolves these timescales.

    The research, which appears in Science Advances Feb. 25, reveals that more mountain building happens in the period between large earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault, rather than during the quakes themselves. The findings may be used to improve local seismic hazard maps.

    “This project focused on linking ground motions associated with earthquakes with the uplift of mountain ranges over millions of years to paint a full picture of what the hazard might actually look like in the Bay Area,” said lead study author Curtis Baden, a PhD student in geological sciences at Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth).

    Bending and breaking

    Geologists estimate the Santa Cruz Mountains started to uplift from sea level about four million years ago, forming as the result of compression around a bend in the San Andreas fault. The fault marks the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, which shift past each other horizontally in a strike-slip motion.

    Measurements of deformation – changes in the shapes of the rocks – have shown that Earth’s surface warps and stretches around the San Andreas fault during and in between earthquakes, and behaves much like an elastic band over seconds, years and even decades. But that classic approach cannot align with geologic observational data because it doesn’t allow the rocks to yield or break from the stress of the warping and stretching, as they eventually would in nature – an effect that has been observed in Earth’s mountain ranges.

    “If you try to treat the Earth like an elastic band and drive it forward too far, you’re going to exceed its strength and it’s not going to behave like an elastic anymore – it’s going to start to yield, it’s going to start to break,” said senior study author George Hilley, a professor of geological sciences at Stanford Earth. “That effect of breaking is common to almost every plate boundary, but it’s seldom addressed in a consistent way that allows you to get from earthquakes to the long-term effects.”

    By simply allowing the rocks to break in their model, the study authors have illuminated how earthquake-related ground motions and ground motions in between earthquakes build mountains over millions of years. The results were surprising: While the geosciences community conceives of earthquakes as the primary drivers of mountain-building processes, the simulation showed most uplift has occurred in the period between earthquakes.

    “The conventional wisdom is that permanent uplift of the rock actually happens as the result of the immense force of the earthquake,” Hilley said. “This argues that the earthquake itself is actually relieving the stress that is built up, to some degree.”

    A neighborhood laboratory

    Because the Santa Cruz Mountains neighbor several research institutions, including Stanford, The University of California-Berkeley,The University of California-Santa Cruz (US) and the United States Geological Survey , scientists have gathered an immense amount of information about the mountain range over the course of more than 100 years.

    Efforts to collect geological and geophysical data were especially spurred by major recent events like the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but the formation of the Santa Cruz Mountains likely spanned hundreds of thousands of smaller earthquakes over millions of years, according to the researchers.

    The study authors compiled the existing suite of observations, and also collected new geochemical data by measuring Helium gas trapped within crystals contained in rocks of the mountains to estimate how fast these rocks are coming to the surface from thousands of feet below. They then compared these datasets with model predictions to identify how earthquakes relate to uplift and erosion of the mountain range. The process took years of specifying material properties to reflect the complexity that nature requires.

    Seismic implications

    The researchers ran their simulation from when the Santa Cruz Mountains started to uplift four million years ago until present day to understand how the evolution of topography near the San Andreas fault through time influences recent and potential future earthquakes.

    “Currently, seismic hazard assessments in the San Francisco Bay area are largely based on the timing of earthquakes spanning the last few hundred years and recent crustal motions,” Baden said. “This work shows that careful geologic studies, which measure mountain-building processes over much longer timescales than individual earthquakes, can also inform these assessments.”

    The scientists are currently working on a companion paper detailing how hazard risk maps could be improved using this new model.

    “We now have a way forward in terms of actually having a viable set of mechanisms for explaining the differences between estimates at different time scales,” Hilley said. “The more we can get everything to fit together, the more defensible our hazard assessments can be.”

    Study co-authors include David Shuster and Roland Bürgmann of UC Berkeley; Felipe Aron of the Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN) and The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile](CL); and Julie Fosdick of the University of Connecticut. Aron and Fosdick were affiliated with Stanford when they conducted research for the study.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences

    The Stanford University School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences

    The School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences (formerly the School of Earth Sciences) lists courses under the subject code EARTH on the Stanford Bulletin’s ExploreCourses web site. Courses offered by the School’s departments and inter-departmental programs are linked on their separate sections, and are available at the ExploreCourses web site.

    The School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences includes the departments of Geological Sciences, Geophysics, Energy Resources Engineering, and Earth System Science; and three interdisciplinary programs: the Earth Systems undergraduate B.S. and coterminal M.A. and M.S. programs, the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) with Ph.D. and joint M.S, and the Sustainability and Science Practice Program with coterminal M.A. and M.S. programs.

    The aims of the school and its programs are:

    to prepare students for careers in the fields of agricultural science and policy, biogeochemistry, climate science, energy resource engineering, environmental science and policy, environmental communications, geology, geobiology, geochemistry, geomechanics, geophysics, geostatistics, sustainability science, hydrogeology, land science, oceanography, paleontology, petroleum engineering, and petroleum geology;

    to conduct disciplinary and interdisciplinary research on a range of questions related to Earth, its resources and its environment;

    to provide opportunities for Stanford undergraduate and graduate students to learn about the planet’s history, to understand the energy and resource bases that support humanity, to address the geological and geophysical, and human-caused hazards that affect human societies, and to understand the challenges and develop solutions related to environment and sustainability.

    To accomplish these objectives, the school offers a variety of programs adaptable to the needs of the individual student:

    four-year undergraduate programs leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

    five-year programs leading to the coterminal Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (M.S.)

    five-year programs leading to the coterminal Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts (M.A.)

    graduate programs offering the degrees of Master of Science, Engineer, and Doctor of Philosophy.

    Details of individual degree programs are found in the section for each department or program.
    Undergraduate Programs in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences

    Any undergraduate admitted to the University may declare a major in one of the school’s departments or the Earth Systems Program by contacting the appropriate department or program office.

    Requirements for the B.S. degree are listed in each department or program section. Departmental academic advisers work with students to define a career or academic goal and assure that the student’s curricular choices are appropriate to the pursuit of that goal. Advisers can help devise a sensible and enjoyable course of study that meets degree requirements and provides the student with opportunities to experience advanced courses, seminars, and research projects. To maximize such opportunities, students are encouraged to complete basic science and mathematics courses in high school or during their freshman year.
    Coterminal Master’s Degrees in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences

    The Stanford coterminal degree program enables an undergraduate to embark on an integrated program of study leading to the master’s degree before requirements for the bachelor’s degree have been completed. This may result in more expeditious progress towards the advanced degree than would otherwise be possible, making the program especially important to Earth scientists because the master’s degree provides an excellent basis for entry into the profession. The coterminal plan permits students to apply for admission to a master’s program after earning 120 units, completion of six non-summer quarters, and declaration of an undergraduate major, but no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of the undergraduate degree.

    The student may meet the degree requirements in the more advantageous of the following two ways: by first completing the 180 units required for the B.S. degree and then completing the three quarters required for the M.S. or the M.A. degree; or by completing a total of 15 quarters during which the requirements for the two degrees are completed concurrently. In either case, the student has the option of receiving the B.S. degree upon meeting all the B.S. requirements or of receiving both degrees at the end of the coterminal program.

    Students earn degrees in the same department or program, in two different departments, or even in different schools; for example, a B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Geological Sciences. Students are encouraged to discuss the coterminal program with their advisers during their junior year. Additional information is available in the individual department offices.

    University requirements for the coterminal master’s degree are described in the “Coterminal Master’s Program” section. University requirements for the master’s degree are described in the “Graduate Degrees” section of this bulletin.
    Graduate Programs in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences

    Admission to the Graduate Program

    A student who wishes to enroll for graduate work in the school must be qualified for graduate standing in the University and also must be accepted by one of the school’s four departments or the E-IPER Ph.D. program. One requirement for admission is submission of scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam. Admission to one department of the school does not guarantee admission to other departments.

    Faculty Adviser

    Upon entering a graduate program, the student should report to the head of the department or program who arranges with a member of the faculty to act as the student’s adviser. Alternatively, in several of the departments, advisers are established through student-faculty discussions prior to admission. The student, in consultation with the adviser(s), then arranges a course of study for the first quarter and ultimately develops a complete plan of study for the degree sought.

    Financial Aid
    Detailed information on scholarships, fellowships, and research grants is available from the school’s individual departments and programs.

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University (US) to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)(originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.


    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University(US), the University of Texas System(US), and Yale University(US) had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley(US) and UC San Francisco(US), Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and UC Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.


    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.


    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
%d bloggers like this: