Related topics: earthquake · magnitude · quake · volcano

Researchers build better rock models

Once you crush, cut or fracture a rock, there are no do-overs. It's a fact that means geoscientists have to be particularly careful about which rock samples they can sacrifice to physics experiments versus which ones should ...

Search finds possible graves of Tulsa Race Massacre victims

Scientists surveying a cemetery and a homeless camp in Tulsa, Oklahoma, found pits holding possible remains of black residents killed nearly 100 years ago in a race massacre, investigators have revealed.

Martian aurora offers climate change clues, research reports

A newly published study, presented on Dec. 12 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, reveals that a type of Martian aurora originally detected by NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is in fact the most common aurora on the ...

How aerosols affect our climate

For many, the word "aerosol" might conjure thoughts of hairspray or spray paint. More accurately, though, aerosols are simply particles found in the atmosphere. They can be human-made, like from car exhaust or biomass burning, ...

Building a better weapon against harmful algal blooms

Predicting and pinpointing which farming practices are most likely to protect against environmental harm is a complex proposition, and researchers at The Ohio State University are working to fine-tune the tools that could ...

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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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