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Research Highlights


Geophysics (EES-17)

The Geophysics Group supports the national security mission of Los Alamos National Laboratory by providing technical expertise to monitor movement of Earth's crust while predicting the effects of these events on the environment. Though our focus is on seismic monitoring, we also apply electric, magnetic, radionuclide, and acoustic technologies to monitor underground explosions, maintain our ability to conduct tests, and develop the Yucca Mountain Project.

In addition, we study the nonlinear properties of earth materials, imaging with seismic waves, how seismic waves affect the interaction of porous rocks and fluids, use of seismic waves to characterize underground oil reservoirs, volcanology and volcanic seismicity, advanced computational physics of earth materials, and using drilling technology to study the crust of the earth. These tasks are complemented by our extensive background in both conventional and hot dry rock geothermal energy development and geophysical support of the Nevada Test Site.

Where We Are Going

To reduce the expense and environmental impact of drilling for oil in complex, hard-to-reach geology, we are developing better methods to drill smaller boreholes. We then can place sensors to improve our understanding of the earth.

We are developing geophysical technologies and testing them within the dynamic regimes of volcanoes.

By understanding how seismic waves pass through the earth, we are improving our ability to predict and reduce the danger posed by large earthquakes in metropolitan areas.

As we improve our understanding of how explosions interact with the geophysical environment, we increase the willingness of countries to restrict or eliminate nuclear testing since all parties know that their actions are verifiable.

By combining our understanding of Earth with our capability for observing and conducting experiments, we are well positioned to address problems of relevance to national defense and to help the environment and society.

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