Tag Archives: seismometer

Scientists Helped Design NASA Mission Concept to Search for Life on Europa

AUSTIN, Texas — Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics helped develop a blueprint for a possible future NASA lander mission to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter that has a global ocean covered by an ice shell. Europa’s large reservoir of liquid water has long enchanted planetary scientists with the possibility of harboring life. Many experts believe it to be the most likely place in our solar system besides Earth to host life today. The proposed mission is designed to assess the moon’s habitability by studying its surface composition, ice shell, ocean and geology.

Don Blankenship, senior research scientist at the institute, is part of the science definition team commissioned by NASA to draft the report, which appears in the August 2013 issue of Astrobiology. Blankenship and two colleagues — Krista Soderlund, postdoctoral fellow at the institute; and Britney Schmidt, formerly a postdoctoral fellow at the institute, now assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology — developed a part of the mission scenario that would use sound waves to study the moon’s icy shell, deep ocean and possible shallow lakes. (more…)

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UW Deploying Seismic Sensors in Hope of Getting to Bottom of Spokane Quakes

It’s been a decade since a swarm of relatively mild earthquakes shook up parts of Spokane. Now, armed with the right tools, scientists want to find out what was at fault.

“It was always something not as well understood as we thought it should be,” said Douglas Gibbons, a University of Washington researcher in Earth and space sciences, who is guiding installation of strong-motion sensors as part of a project called NetQuakes.

NetQuakes will install a half-dozen seismometers in the Spokane area by the end of June, mostly in volunteers’ homes, to help improve understanding of what lies beneath the city. (more…)

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Whether Glaciers Float May Affect Sea-Level Rise

WASHINGTON — Glaciers that detach from the seafloor and begin floating create larger icebergs than glaciers that stay on the sea floor, researchers have found. Floating glaciers also produce icebergs more erratically.  

These new observations may help researchers better understand and predict iceberg production from glaciers and ice sheets, improving estimates of sea-level rise due to climate change.


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