Related topics: earthquake

Climate change: More carbon dioxide leads to fewer clouds

(—The warmer the air, the more water can evaporate: a simple relationship familiar to us from everyday life. Researchers from Germany and the Netherlands have now established that this is not always the case: although ...

Under California: An ancient tectonic plate

( —The Isabella anomaly—indications of a large mass of cool, dehydrated material about 100 kilometers beneath central California—is in fact a surviving slab of the Farallon oceanic plate. Most of the Farallon ...

The North American Cordillera: Constructive collisions

The mountain ranges of the North American Cordillera are made up of dozens of distinct crustal blocks. A new study clarifies their mode of origin and identifies a previously unknown oceanic plate that contributed to their ...

The least sea ice in 800 years

New research, which reconstructs the extent of ice in the sea between Greenland and Svalbard from the 13th century to the present indicates that there has never been so little sea ice as there is now. The research results ...

Encounters of another kind: meteorite chunk falls on Oslo

A Norwegian family was flabbergasted to find that what appeared to be a piece of a meteorite had crashed through the roof of their allotment garden hut in the middle of Oslo, media reported Monday.

Santorini: The ground is moving again in paradise

Do a Google image search for "Greece." Before you find pictures of the Parthenon or Acropolis, you'll see several beautiful photos of Santorini, the picturesque island in the Aegean Sea. The British Broadcasting Company named ...

Satellites show the way to new oil finds

A new map of the Earth’s gravitational force based on satellite measurements makes it much less resource intensive to find new oil deposits. The map will be particularly useful as the ice melts in the oil-rich Arctic regions. ...

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Geophysics ( /dʒiːoʊfɪzɪks/) is the physics of the Earth and its environment in space; also the study of the Earth using quantitative physical methods. The term geophysics sometimes refers only to the geological applications: Earth's shape; its gravitational and magnetic fields; its internal structure and composition; its dynamics and their surface expression in plate tectonics, the generation of magmas, volcanism and rock formation. However, modern geophysics organizations use a broader definition that includes the hydrological cycle including snow and ice; fluid dynamics of the oceans and the atmosphere; electricity and magnetism in the ionosphere and magnetosphere and solar-terrestrial relations; and analogous problems associated with the Moon and other planets.

Although geophysics was only recognized as a separate discipline in the 19th century, its origins go back to ancient history. The first magnetic compasses date back to the fourth century BC and the first seismoscope was built in 132 BC. Geophysical methods were developed for navigation; Isaac Newton applied his theory of mechanics to the tides and the precession of the equinox; and instruments were developed to measure the Earth's shape, density and gravity field, as well as the components of the water cycle. In the 20th century, geophysical methods were developed for remote exploration of the solid Earth and the ocean, and geophysics played an essential role in the development of the theory of plate tectonics.

Geophysics is applied to societal needs, such as mineral resources, mitigation of natural hazards and environmental protection. Geophysical survey data are used to analyze potential petroleum reservoirs and mineral deposits, locate groundwater, find archaeological relics, determine the thickness of glaciers and soils, and assess sites for environmental remediation.

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