May 19, 2022
Beneath our feet, the ground is made up of different layers laid down over eons. These might range from soft clay to brittle shale. Each react differently during an earthquake—for example, more flexible layers can absorb some movement, while others amplify it. The depth and intensity of a quake as well as the surrounding geography can play a role, too, causing waves to ricochet. All of these factors combine to make predicting earthquake damage extremely difficult.
Scientists can use computers to try to model what happens, but it’s imperfect. “Simulating all of this is really hard to do, not only because it’s computationally intensive, but we don’t know enough about the physics at small scales—that is, down to the level of a mile across or less,” Park explained. “For example, if there are aquifers filled with water or magma chambers, how do those affect waves? We don’t know very well.”
Here's a chance to learn more about it from Sunyoung 'Sunny' Park
May 18, 2022
Last summer, a deadly wave of heat struck the Pacific Northwest, causing temperatures to soar more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal and killing more than a thousand people.
A new study has uncovered the sequence of events that precipitated the disaster, providing information that could further our understanding of heat formation on the North American continent. A cyclon spawned an “anticyclone,” which combined to produce and then trap heat near the surface of the region.
May 17, 2022
2021 PhD graduate Megan Mansfield (now NASA Sagan Fellow at the University of Arizona) has been awarded the International Astronomical Union PhD Prize. Mansfield's thesis was on “Revealing the Atmospheres of Highly Irradiated Exoplanets: From Ultra-Hot Jupiters to Venus Analogues.” Mansfield's advisors at UChicago were Geophysical Sciences Associate Professor Edwin Kite and Astronomy and Astrophysics Professor Jacob Bean. Congratulations, Megan!