Research Review
[Above] Reservoir characterization, like this visualization of an oil formation in the Permian Basin of West Texas generated on a Cray T3E at NERSC, is crucial to recovery of the nation's oil and gas.
from Within

by Paul Preuss

Five billion years ago, as heavier components of the solar nebula coalesced to form inner rocky planets, the center of the spinning cloud of dust and gas condensed and flared into a star, our sun.

Molten metals fell inward to form Earth's liquid core; around it, a stony mantle baked in the decay of radioactive isotopes. When the planet's crust finally cooled, seas accumulated, and somewhere on or near the surface life arose.

Life harvests the sun's energy wherever it reaches, trades that energy with other life, and in dying locks some of it away. Meanwhile, beneath the surface, our planet still glows with presolar fire.