Friday, July 22, 2016

Tide-triggered tremors give clues for earthquake prediction

1906 San Francisco Earthquake, USGS photo.

The triggering of small, deep earthquakes along California's San Andreas Fault reveals depth-dependent frictional behavior that may provide insight into patterns signaling when a major quake could be on the horizon, according to a paper released this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The study, which was led by the U.S. Geological Survey and Los Alamos National Laboratory, reports that the deepest part of California's 800-mile-long San Andreas Fault is weaker than expected and produces small earthquakes in response to tidal forces. (Full story)

Bracing for fire

Las Conchas fire, NASA image.

This summer, throughout the West, higher temperatures and decreased precipitation brought on by climate change have ramped up the frequency of wildfires — big, catastrophic fires — while a century of fire suppression feeds the flames with a thick tangle of fuel in our overgrown forests.

We can’t stop all fires — and we shouldn’t. Healthy ecosystems depend on them. But understanding what drives big fires and predicting their behavior helps the fire community prepare for the next blaze through appropriate land management, emergency plans and firefighting strategies. (Full story)

Los Alamos National Laboratory
working on 2020 Mars Rover

Roger Wiens on KRQE-TV.

Technology that New Mexico scientists helped develop is roaming Mars right now. LANL scientists are working on what they call the SuperCam. It will be placed inside the Mars 2020 Rover.

“NASA calls it a Swiss Army Knife kind of instrument because it does so many different things,” said Roger Weins, Principal Investigator for the Chem Cam Instrument on the Curiosity Rover and SuperCam Instrument for the Mars 2020 Rover. (Full story)

Mars 2020 mission brings EDL microphones to hear Mars sounds

Mars 2020 rover, NASA image.

The Mars 2020 mission has declared that JPL-provided Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) microphones, and a microphone included in the SuperCam science instrument, will soon fly on board their rover. It will be led by Roger Wiens at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in partnership with CNES, the French Space Agency.

The Mars microphones will enable the scientists to finally add a second human sense to the visual imagery they have captured from the Mars planet, The Planetary Society reported. (Full story)

LANL discovery could launch next generation of solar power

Aditya Mohite working on perovskite
crystals. LANL photo.

Scientists from two universities and Los Alamos National Laboratory have made a breakthrough that could launch a new generation of solar-energy production and make hydrogen fuel-cell technology a practical reality.

The findings from the team of LANL scientists and researchers from Rice and Northwestern universities were published this month in the scientific journal Nature. The breakthrough centers on a class of crystals called perovskites, which have enthralled chemists around the world for the ease with which they can be made and their short-but-impressive history of rapid innovation. (Full story)

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