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About

Stanford Stress Group photo

The Stress and Crustal Mechanics group uses knowledge of the state of stress in the Earth and the mechanical properties of Earth materials to investigate a variety of geophysical problems. These problems cover a variety of scales, ranging from pore scale processes and the mechanical behavior of reservoir-scale faults, to the strength of the lithosphere and the mechanics of major plate bounding faults such as the San Andreas.
Our group conducts basic and applied research in the areas of reservoir geomechanics, tectonophysics, and the physics of friction and faulting. We treat the Earth's crust as a natural laboratory, using a combination of stress and strain data obtained from boreholes, GPS measurements, and earthquake focal mechanisms to test theories about the behavior of the lithosphere. Our group is heavily engaged on applying these methodologies toward optimization of production from gas shale research and CO2 sequestration.

The group is directed by Professor Mark D. Zoback.

Mark Zoback is the Benjamin M. Page Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University. Dr. Zoback conducts research on in situ stress, fault mechanics, and reservoir geomechanics with an emphasis on shale gas, tight gas and tight oil production. He was one of the principal investigators of the SAFOD project in which a scientific research well was successfully drilled through the San Andreas Fault at seismogenic depth. He is the author of a textbook entitled Reservoir Geomechanics published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. He is the author/co-author of 300 technical papers and holds five patents. He was the co-founder of GeoMechanics International in 1996, where he was Chairman of the Board until 2008.

Dr. Zoback has received a number of awards and honors, including the 2006 Emil Wiechert Medal of the German Geophysical Society and the 2008 Walter H. Bucher Medal of the American Geophysical Union. In 2011, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, in 2012 he was elected to Honorary Membership in the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and he is the 2013 winner of the Louis Néel Medal of European Geosciences Union and awarded an Einstein Chair Professorship of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He recently served on the National Academy of Engineering committee investigating the Deepwater Horizon accident and the Secretary of Energy’s committee on shale gas development and environmental protection. He currently serves on a Canadian Council of Academies panel investigating the same topic. Dr. Zoback currently serves as a Senior Executive Adviser to Baker Hughes.

Affiliates

The Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group is associated with the following industrial affiliates programs:

Stanford Center for Induced and Triggered Seismicity

Earthquake reading

The Stanford Center for Induced and Triggered Seismicity (SCITS) is an industrial affiliates program on the topic of induced and triggered earthquakes.  Ten Stanford Professors in the Departments of Geophysics, Energy Resource Engineering, Earth System Science and Civil and Environmental Engineering are involved in SCITS.  They and their research groups are addressing a wide variety of scientific and operational issues associated with managing the risk posed by induced and triggered earthquakes.

Stanford Natural Gas Initiative

natural gas storage tanks

The revolution in natural gas production has changed the energy outlook in much of the world and thrust this resource into the global spotlight as a potential bridge to a cleaner energy future. It has raised hopes, along with concerns. Watch.

Stanford Center for Carbon Storage

sccs banner

The mission of Stanford Center for Carbon Storage (SCCS) is “Managing carbon emissions research to address critical questions related to capture, flow physics, monitoring, and geochemistry, simulation of the transport and fate of CO2 in geologic media using a multidisciplinary approach.”