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3 COMPONENTS OF A MARGINS INITIATIVE A NEW APPROACH FOR MARGINS RESEARCH The Margins workshop was successful in developing consensus about a set of scientific objectives that could lead to a revolution in our understanding of continental mar-tins. Beyond this, however, a new approach, both scientific and organizational, must be adopted to ensure sustained progress. The approach must shift to a process-oriented study of margins under,a completely interdisciplinary organizational and funding structure. The objectives defined at the workshop centered around a set of topics divided into two major margin types, "passive" and "active." In making these divisions, the workshop followed a traditional structure rooted in the style of research that has come to typify science in the United States. Although this traditional structure has been the source of much valuable progress in the past, it will become increasingly inadequate for research endeavors of the future. The workshop illustrated clearly that many barriers separating researchers are due, not to fundamental differences in research objectives, but to the structure of our disciplines and funding agencies. By removing the artificial boundaries created by the agency/discipline structure, we can achieve rapid advances in our understanding of continental margins. The workshop participants agreed that an interdisciplinary approach should be applied to a process-oriented program of margin research, shifting away from discipline- or qeoqranhY-suecif ic approaches . scone- or _ _ _ ~ ,, The new focus could more directly address the fundamental elements of continental margin evolution, allowing for the study of processes and the development of models. 24
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A MARGINS INITIATIVE COMMITTEE A Margins Initiative Committee will be established within the National Research Council. Its primary responsibility would be to keep the Margins Initiative moving forward by building on the results and recommendations of the planning workshops (see below), and to interact with funding agencies and the scientific, industrial, and federal communities in an advisory and coordinating capacity. Complementary to these efforts would be an emphasis on greater coordination and communication between land and marine communities and a focus on process-oriented research. The Margins Committee would also explore the possibilities of creating an international component of the Margins Initiative. PLANNING WORKSHOPS In parallel with the work of the committee, we would hold workshops organized around the for lowing four specific themes: 3 1. Mechanics of Low Angle Faults Fluids and Fluid Flow . Magmatism and the Growth of Continental Crust 4. Continental Margin Sedimentary Record In support of the workshop planning efforts, a dialogue should begin with the granting agencies to establish inter- and intra-agency mechanisms under which process-oriented interdisciplinary research could be supported. DRAFTING A SCIE=IFIC Pa The original workshop established the first tentative steps toward a Margins Initiative. Our future workshops will define specific programs of field work, laboratory measurement, and theoretical and computational studies. These programs will form the core of a new science plan. Every attempt will be made to involve the broadest possible cross section of the community, including representatives from industry and government agencies. We recommend the fall of 1989 as a time to begin the planning effort, and late 1990 as a target date for completing a science plan. With such a plan available, we could establish the basis for a productive research effort in margin studies. Furthermore, the plan would provide the granting agencies with a rational, coherent, and forward-looking strategy with which to develop the needed growth in margin discipline. 25
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