Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation


Main content start

Dear prospective students,

Tiziana in the lab

Thank you for exploring our Rock Physics and Geomaterials Lab website and showing interest in the properties of rocks and geomaterials. These are exciting times for geophysics and the broader geosciences, where the pursuit of fundamental knowledge, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovation holds immense potential to foster a more sustainable society


The contribution of Geophysics to sustainable Earth resources

In our current era, humanity finds itself in a critical juncture on Earth, where our consumption exceeds 150% of the planet's available resources. This unbalanced utilization has led to unprecedented and unsustainable environmental changes. It's akin to continuously overdrawing from the Bank of Earth without considering the consequences or planning for repayment. So, how can geophysics help us address this debt?

Understanding Earth processes and innovating geomaterials

Technical innovation stemming from science and engineering will spearhead the endeavor to decarbonize our future and foster more responsible use of natural resources. Central to this pursuit is the study of rock and geomaterial properties, which underpins any technological advancement. Why is this foundational? Because any proposed solution involving Earth's resources necessitates rigorous laboratory testing. We must avoid hasty decisions and thoroughly consider the consequences of proposed solutions.

This demands a profound understanding of subsurface processes, whether for fluid extraction, injection, or underground storage, alongside comprehensive knowledge of Earth's raw materials (rocks and sediments) for developing more sustainable forms of concrete or even plastic. In our pursuit, we cultivate interdisciplinary collaboration, working closely with colleagues spanning Earth and Planetary Sciences, Geophysics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Materials Science, and Chemical Engineering to enrich our collective understanding and advance innovative solutions.

Achieving sustainable development necessitates embracing unconventional ideas. However, the true measure of any new concept lies in its experimental application, where the system is perturbed, observations are made, and conclusions are drawn. Questioning begins with keen observation and hands-on experimentation. This is the essence of what my students and I undertake, and I enthusiastically invite curious, imaginative, and diverse individuals who are resolute in their commitment to scientific advancement to join our endeavors!

Tiziana Vanorio
Director, Rock Physics and Geomaterials Lab
Associate Professor of Geophysics and, by courtesy, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences