International News from Stanford University - 2011
News Item Manslaughter trial of seismologists in Italy highlights need for 'systematic earthquake forecasting,' says Stanford geophysicist
The manslaughter trial of six Italian seismologists highlights the need for scientists to put more effort into explaining their work to the public, says Stanford geophysicist Greg Beroza. He calls for seismologists to issue "earthquake forecasts" on an ongoing basis to help the public understand changes in the likelihood of a major earthquake occurring in a given region.
The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 were generated on a fault that didn't rupture in the usual fashion, according to a study by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Tokyo. The rupture initially shot westward, then slowed markedly in that direction while the fault began rupturing rapidly eastward. The "flip-flop" fault motion first shook Honshu violently, then deformed seafloor sediments on the fault plane with such force that they triggered the huge tsunami.
News Item Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project (CRISP)
A team led by a Stanford researcher has found a valuable, untapped resource in historical data from crop yield trials conducted across sub-Saharan Africa. Combined with weather records, they show that yield losses would occur across 65 percent of maize-growing areas from a temperature rise of a single degree Celsius, even with sufficient water. Data from yield tests in other regions of the world could help predict changes in crop yields from climate change.