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Institute for Geophysics News Archive


Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) in the Jackson School of Geosciences have discovered two seafloor gateways that could allow warm ocean water to reach the base of Totten Glacier, East Antarctica’s largest and most rapidly thinning glacier. The discovery, reported in the March 16 edition of the journal…

For more than 100 years, people have questioned whether taking oil and gas from the depths of the earth can cause tremors. When an earthquake shook Austin in 1902, some thought an explosion in the oilfields of Spindletop, in southern Beaumont, might be to blame. The 1902 earthquake was naturally occurring. But the link between…

The Williston Basin in north central U.S. produced fewer earthquakes caused by wastewater injection than in Texas, suggesting the link between seismicity and production activities may vary by region, according to a new study published in the journal Seismological Research Letters (SRL). Ongoing since 1950s, petroleum and gas production in the Williston Basin, underlying parts of…

Want to know what the inside of an ice sheet looks like? A new 3D map and animation of the Greenland ice sheet lets researchers peer into the layers of ice laid down over millennia and see how they have been warped as they flow over time and are put under pressure as newer layers accumulate above….

  Scientists using ice-penetrating radar data collected by NASA’s Operation IceBridge and earlier airborne campaigns have built the first comprehensive map of layers deep inside the Greenland Ice Sheet, opening a window on past climate conditions and the ice sheet’s potentially perilous future. This new map allows scientists to determine the age of large swaths…

A paper by Ian Dalziel of The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences, published in the November issue of Geology, a journal of the Geological Society of America, suggests a major tectonic event may have triggered the rise in sea level and other environmental changes that accompanied the apparent burst of life. The…

Melting from Below

Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, but it is also being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) report in the June 24, 2014, edition of the Proceedings of…

Catch a Falling Sediment

Planktic foraminifer Globigerinoides ruber (G. ruber)—a single-cell organism with a hard outer shell—is perhaps one of the most widely used species for reconstructing past sea-surface conditions. Recent studies suggest two subspecies, or morphotypes, called G. ruber sensu stricto and G. ruber sensu lato live at different depths and therefore must not be mixed when reconstructing…

Looking for Life

In a finding relevant to the search for life in our solar system, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research showed that the subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa may have deep currents and circulation patterns with…

Dissecting a Glacier

A decade of research on Thwaites Glacier has greatly advanced knowledge of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s potential contribution to sea level rise By Tim Green About a decade ago, a de Havilland Twin Otter aircraft flew back and forth over an area the size of New Mexico in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, sending radar…

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