127 news posts related to Geophysical Sciences

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New UW Photonic Sensing Facility will use fiber-optic cables for seismic sensing, glaciology and more

The fiber-optic cables that travel underground, along the seafloor and into our homes have potential besides transmitting videos, emails and tweets. These signals can also record ground vibrations as small as a nanometer anywhere the cable touches the ground. This unintended use for fiber-optic cables was discovered decades ago and has had limited use in military and commercial applications. A University of Washington pilot project is exploring the use of fiber-optic sensing for seismology, glaciology, and even urban monitoring. 

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New study calculates retreat of glacier edges in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park

Holgate Glacier, shown here in June 2009, terminates on the coast and is a popular kayaking destination, especially in summer when the ice is calving. Local residents had recently observed land exposed at its terminus, but the new analysis finds that the glacier has been advancing over the past 5 years.

As glaciers worldwide retreat due to climate change, managers of national parks need to know what’s on the horizon to prepare for the future. A new study from the University of Washington and the National Park Service measures 38 years of change for glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, a stunning jewel about two hours south of Anchorage. The study, published Aug. 

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Science at your fingertips: how the science of sand uncovers Earth’s mysteries  

beach on a sunny day in Washington State

Feeling cool, wet sand squish between your toes while walking along a beach is something that many of us take solace in — there’s just something special about that boundary between land and water. The beach serves as the backdrop for so many of life’s events: vacations, barbeques, camps, seashell searches, sporting events and even weddings. But the sand you track in on your towels and sandals is more than just something to vacuum up. 

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Bubbles of methane rising from seafloor in Puget Sound

Two researchers stand on the R/V Carson

The release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas responsible for almost a quarter of global warming, is being studied around the world, from Arctic wetlands to livestock feedlots. A University of Washington team has discovered a source much closer to home: 349 plumes of methane gas bubbling up from the seafloor in Puget Sound, which holds more water than any other U.S. 

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Simulations show how earthquake early warning might be improved for magnitude-9 earthquakes

When the next major earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, a system launched last spring should give some advance warning, as emergency alerts go out and cell phones buzz. But how well the system functions might depend on whether that quake is the so-called “really big one,” and where it starts. The Pacific Northwest’s last magnitude-9 event from the offshore subduction zone was in 1700. 

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