Geophysics Department

Congratulations to EESA Director’s Award Recipients

Two EESA staff are set to receive a prestigious Director’s Award from Berkeley Lab’s Directorate at a ceremony on November 30. Robin Lopez is a research associate in the Geophysics Department of the Energy Geosciences Division who began working at the Lab as an intern. He is being honored for his commitment to scientific outreach within…

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EESA Scientist Frank Morrison Honored for Lifetime Achievement

Frank Morrison, a senior faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area and professor at UC Berkeley, has been recognized for his lifetime contributions to the field of electrical and electromagnetic geophysics with a 2017 Gerald W. Hohmann Lifetime Achievement Award. Morrison is widely known for his contributions across the entire spectrum of…

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Commer makes his way to the World Championship of Public Speaking

Michael Commer, a geological research scientist in the Energy Geosciences Division will make his way to the 2017 Toastmasters International Speech Contest Semifinals this week with hopes to advance to the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking ®. Michael discovered the Toast-on-the-Hill Toastmasters Club (a Berkeley Lab Employee Association) two years ago and he was…

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EESA Develops New Approach to Restock California’s Groundwater via Almond Orchards, Vineyards

Flooding of California almond orchard for groundwater recharge demonstration project

Groundwater—the water stored underneath the Earth’s surface between the cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and bedrock—is essential for the California residents and farmers who rely on it for up to 46 percent of their annual water use. Yet during the 2012-2017 drought, the state’s surface water supply was not sufficient to meet demand, resulting in excess groundwater pumping that caused land subsidence of up to 13 inches in some parts of the San Joaquin Valley. Now a team of scientists at Berkeley Lab’s Earth & Environmental Sciences Area are working with farmers and partners like the Almond Board of California and UC Davis to test on-farm banking, a new approach that has the potential to manage groundwater more sustainably. It’s an improvement on the age-old method of groundwater recharge, the process of replenishing aquifers by infiltrating water from the surface into shallow aquifers. “On-farm banking has the promise of making the most productive use of the greatest amount of land possible while increasing the reliability and resiliency of California’s groundwater supply,” says EESA scientist Peter Nico, a soil and environmental biogeochemist.

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New Geophysics Department Head: Jonathan Ajo-Franklin

Susan Hubbard, ALD for the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area (EESA), has announced that Jonathan Ajo-Franklin will assume the role of the Department Head for Geophysics, effective June 15, 2017. Jonathan’s research focuses on using geophysical techniques to understand dynamic alterations in subsurface properties of relevance to the environmental and energy sectors. He received his PhD…

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New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive

The California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program has awarded Berkeley Lab a total of $2.7 million for two projects that will be led by Energy Geosciences Division scientists, Kurt Nihei and Jonny Rutqvist make geothermal energy more economically attractive.

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Robert J. Budnitz elected to National Academy of Engineering

Robert J. Budnitz portrait. Cr. Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab. Photos.lbl.gov, XBD201408-01063-02.tiff

The National Academy of Engineering has elected EESA’s Bob Budnitz as a new member in recognition of his contributions to seismic probabilistic risk assessments and their application to nuclear power facilities. He joins Berkeley Lab researchers Gerbrand Ceder (MSD) and Katherine Yelick (CS) for this honor. Read more…

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