Research Highlight

EESA Experts Participate in First High-Resolution Field Measurements of Induced Seismicity and Fault Slip

Induced seismicity refers to typically minor earthquakes and tremors triggered by human activity, deliberate or not. Rarely are humans aware of these mostly low-magnitude events occurring deep underground. However, some regions have over the past decade shown quite significant earthquakes such as a few larger than magnitude 5 events in Oklahoma, which have been linked to wastewater injection…

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Common beetle’s gut microbiome benefits forests, holds promise for bioenergy

Insects are critical contributors to ecosystem functioning, and like most living organisms their co-evolution with microbes has been essential to support these functions. While many insects are infamous for wreaking havoc wherever they roam, many thousands of species go quietly about their business, providing important services essential to healthy ecosystems using the innovative biochemistry of…

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Towards Better Ecosystem Photosynthesis and Respiration Estimates

Eddy covariance tower near Barrow AK. Cr R. Kaltschmidt. Copyright Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Land surfaces across the globe absorb about a third of greenhouse gas emissions every year, due to the difference between two key processes: ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration. Despite their significance, it’s impossible to measure these two processes at the ecosystem scale during the daytime. Scientists have relied since the 1980s on a technique known as…

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Dark Fiber Lays Groundwork for Long-Distance Earthquake Detection and Groundwater Mapping

In traditional seismology, researchers studying how the earth moves in the moments before, during, and after an earthquake rely on sensors that cost tens of thousands of dollars to make and install underground. And because of the expense and labor involved, only a few seismic sensors have been installed throughout remote areas of California, making…

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Thirty Percent of CO2 Released Into Atmosphere from Soil Originates From the Deep Subsurface

  Soil harbors three times as much carbon as Earth’s atmosphere, but until recently research into how warming affects the amount of carbon released from soil into the atmosphere was limited to investigations of the top meter of soil. Researchers at Berkeley Lab are the first to examine soils and sediments as deep as seven…

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Meanders of the Colorado River Shown Beneficial to Water Quality

    Scientists who study the exchange of chemicals in rivers and streams examine activity taking place within the nutrient-rich portions of streambeds, floodplains, and riverbanks known as hyporheic zones – which provide habitat for various aquatic organisms. Berkeley Lab researchers investigating hyporheic exchange have now shown that meanders near the headwaters of the Colorado…

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New Research Shows How Surface Roughness Affects Subsurface Rock Micro-Fractures

  Mineral surface area largely controls the interactions of minerals with fluids and microbes, and the rate of chemical reactions, including mineral dissolution, precipitation, and oxidation-reduction which involves a transfer of electrons between two species. New research from EESA explores the impact of surface roughness on mineral dissolution rates in micro-fractures within rocks deep underground.…

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Algorithm Provides Early Warning System for Tracking Groundwater Contamination

Groundwater contamination is increasingly recognized as a widespread environmental problem. The most important course of action often involves long-term monitoring. But what is the most cost-effective way to monitor when the contaminant plumes are large, complex, and long-term, or an unexpected event such as a storm could cause sudden changes in contaminant levels that may…

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Berkeley Lab Isotope Geochemists Study Isotopic Fractionation by Plants

            Isotope geochemists at Berkeley Lab are the first to establish the degree of Potassium (K) isotopic fractionation by plants. Isotopes are atoms of the same element that have a different number of neutrons. Scientists have just in the past decade begun studying for key nutrient elements (other than C,…

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New Simulations Break Down Potential Impact of a Major Quake by Building Location and Size

ABOVE: Images resulting from recent simulations at NERSC show the distribution of ground motion intensity across the San Francisco Bay Area region 10 and 15 seconds after a large-magnitude earthquake along the Hayward Fault. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)   With unprecedented resolution, scientists and engineers are simulating precisely how a large-magnitude earthquake along the Hayward Fault…

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