School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
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Clifford G. Morrison Professor in Population and Resource Studies, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Earth System Science
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsVitousek's research interests include: evaluating the global cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how they are altered by human activity; understanding how the interaction of land and culture contributed to the sustainability of Hawaiian (and other Pacific) agriculture and society before European contact; and working to make fertilizer applications more efficient and less environmentally damaging (especially in rapidly growing economies)
Assistant Professor of Geophysics and, by courtesy, of Civil and Environmental Engineering
BioBefore joining Stanford in January 2014, I held a position as Lecturer in Applied Mathematics and as a Ziff Environmental Fellow at Harvard. I hold a PhD in Geophysics from MIT and a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to joining graduate school, I worked as a scientific consultant for different international organizations aiming to reduce the impact of natural and environmental disasters in vulnerable communities.
The goal of my research is to advance our basic understanding and predictive capabilities of complex multi-phase flows that are fundamental to Earth science. I pursue this goal by developing original computational methods customized for the problem at hand. The phenomena I explore range from the microscopic to the planetary scale and space a wide variety of geophysics systems such as volcanoes, glaciers, and magma oceans.
I have taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in scientific, planetary evolution, and natural disasters. Since arriving at Stanford in January 2014, I have co-taught GES 118, Understanding Natural Hazards, Quantifying Risk, Increasing Resilience in Highly Urbanized Regions.
Ph.D. Student in Energy Resources Engineering
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsCurrent research is a developing a general sequential iterative framework to handle multiphysics and its implementation in AD-GPRS
Additional work (for AD-GPRS system): input/output system (ASCII and HDF5 format), general PTZ restart, debug cross-platform visualization system, long-period CO2 diffusion process study, steramline tracking.
Ph.D. Student in Energy Resources Engineering
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsPerformance evaluation, optimization, and selection of reservoir simulation algorithms based on an empirical roofline model.
Previously, development of web-based decision-support GIS to aid siting, design, and assessment of utility-scale (land intensive) energy development (e.g. solar or wind farms), a JISEA project in collaboration with USGS and NREL.
Ph.D. Student in Geophysics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsTsunamis are some of the most devastating natural disasters than can occur. In just the last 15 years, two tsunamis - the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2011 Japan tsunami - killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed billions of dollars of property. Despite the importance of understanding these dangerous waves, there is still much we do not understand about how tsunamis are generated.
The largest tsunamis are caused by megathrust earthquakes in subduction zones, when shallow coseismic slip between tectonic plates causes the seafloor to deform, uplifting the ocean surface and initiating a tsunami. Tsunamis can also be caused by earthquakes with smaller magnitude that are more efficient at generating tsunamis. These are called “tsunami earthquakes,” and they may result from slip along high angle splay faults or through a very compliant wedge of sedimentary materials in the trench.
When an earthquake generates a tsunami, it also excites a wide range of fast-propagating seismic and ocean acoustic waves, some of which get trapped in the ocean and may contain valuable information about the size of the tsunami. These trapped waves could potentially be useful for improving tsunami early warning systems.
To better understand these types of problems, we use numerical models that fully couple dynamic rupture on the fault to the elastic response of the earth and ocean. This means that we can model the full seismic, ocean acoustic, and tsunami wavefield that results from a subduction zone earthquake. This way we can explore and investigate some of the complexities of tsunami generation.