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Review of EarthScope Integrated Science (2001)

Chapter: 4 Appropriate Partnerships

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Suggested Citation:"4 Appropriate Partnerships." National Research Council. 2001. Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10271.
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4
Appropriate Partnerships

The EarthScope Working Group has identified a wide range of appropriate partnerships to assist in reaching its goals. The committee concludes that the partnerships described as critical to the EarthScope initiative are entirely adequate; the committee did not identify any major omissions in the possible collaborations envisaged. However, the committee does have a number of comments that may be useful to the program planners as EarthScope planning evolves.

Most of the earthquakes within the United States occur in the western part of the country, including the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico and Texas; the Yellowstone region of Wyoming and neighboring Montana and Idaho; the Basin and Range Province in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and Arizona; and in the states along the Pacific Coast—Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California. Plate boundary activity is not limited to the United States alone, however, but extends into contiguous parts of Canada and Mexico and the offshore areas adjacent to all three countries. Accordingly, a full understanding of the nature of the plate boundary activity will necessarily involve correlation and integration of EarthScope data with similar measurements in these other regions. The EarthScope Working Group is aware of this requirement, and there are plans to coordinate their efforts with workers in those two countries. The committee endorses this intent.

In addition, although the USArray and PBO installations as currently planned do not extend into the marine realm, the proposed NEPTUNE program to deploy ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) and other instruments (including GPS-acoustic instrumentation and strainmeters) throughout the Juan de Fuca Plate1, off the coast of Wash-

1  

See: http://www.neptune.washington.edu/; accessed October, 2001.

Suggested Citation:"4 Appropriate Partnerships." National Research Council. 2001. Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10271.
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ington and Oregon, provides an excellent opportunity to view the results of USArray and the PBO in the context of an entire plate. Consequently, the committee suggests that close coordination of the PBO and USArray with the NEPTUNE program is highly desirable. The ocean science community is also involved in OBS deployments in other locations off the coasts of the United States. As these represent a logical and necessary extension of the “Bigfoot” deployment plan of USArray, it is important that coordination between these programs and scientific communities should be effected.

In addition, major earthquakes and deformation have occurred in other parts of the United States, particularly in the mid-continent regions (e.g., New Madrid area, southern Illinois; Kentucky; Missouri— earthquakes in 1811 and 1812) and along the Atlantic seaboard (e.g., earthquakes in 1755 off Cape Ann, Massachusetts; 1886 in Charleston, South Carolina). Although the PBO does not extend into these regions, the proponents are aware that other agencies are in the process of making GPS installations in these regions and they plan to coordinate their efforts with these other activities. The committee endorses this intent. Also, the deployment of seismographs and GPS across the country will depend on interactions with state geologists and other more regionally-oriented groups such as oil companies. The identification of at least some of the special targets for the USArray flexible deployment program will depend on such partnerships.

Landslides are the most damaging geological hazard in the United States, affecting every state of the nation and its island territories.2 There is a complete continuum from small slumps to large landslides to extensive fault structures. Many of the rocks or other earth materials involved in landslides are similar to those involved in faulting, and the physical principles involved in many landslides, especially the largest ones, are identical to those involved in faulting. The committee encourages the EarthScope investigators to develop interactions and collaborations with the geomorphology community involved in the study of these significant and damaging phenomena.

Successful accomplishment of the EarthScope education and outreach objectives will also require the nurturing of partnerships between scientists and educators. The success of EarthScope’s educat-

2  

Brabb, E.E., 1989. Landslides: Extent and Economic Significance in the United States. Pp. 25–50 in Brabb, E.E., and B.L.Harrod, eds., Landslides— Extent and Economic Significance. Rotterdam, Balkema.

Suggested Citation:"4 Appropriate Partnerships." National Research Council. 2001. Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10271.
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ional efforts (as with any science program) will depend on the effective translation of the science into materials that meet national and state standards and can be used within the context of a classroom or other teaching environment. Educators will also need the training and resources to take advantage of local EarthScope instrument installations, as well as assistance to implement EarthScope-related educational activities. This is an ambitious undertaking, and will require the involvement of national professional organizations of educators, as well as state and local school districts, in the initial planning of EarthScope’s scientific and educational efforts.

Several other large scientific programs are currently in the process of planning extensive educational efforts (e.g., the NEPTUNE program3). The committee recommends that EarthScope establish liaisons and communications with other appropriate programs to build on existing progress in the development of major E&O efforts.

3  

See: http://www.neptune.washington.edu/; accessed October, 2001.

Suggested Citation:"4 Appropriate Partnerships." National Research Council. 2001. Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10271.
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Suggested Citation:"4 Appropriate Partnerships." National Research Council. 2001. Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10271.
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Page 37
Suggested Citation:"4 Appropriate Partnerships." National Research Council. 2001. Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10271.
×
Page 38
Suggested Citation:"4 Appropriate Partnerships." National Research Council. 2001. Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10271.
×
Page 39
Suggested Citation:"4 Appropriate Partnerships." National Research Council. 2001. Review of EarthScope Integrated Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10271.
×
Page 40
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EarthScope is a major science initiative in the solid-earth sciences and has been described as "a new earth science initiative that will dramatically advance our physical understanding of the North American continent by exploring its three-dimensional structure through time". The initiative proposes to cover the United States with an array of instruments created to reveal how the continent was put together, how the continent is moving now, and what lies beneath the continent. The initiative is made of four components, three of which are funded by the Major Research Equipment program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and one of which is mostly associated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In response to a request by the NSF, the National Research Council (NRC) established a committee to review the science objectives and implementation planning of the three NSF components, United States Seismic Array (USArray), the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), and the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD). The committee was charged with answered four specific questions: Is the scientific rationale for EarthScope sound, and are the scientific questions to be addressed of significant importance?, Is there any additional component that should be added to the EarthScope initiative to ensure that it will achieve its objective of a vastly increased understanding of the structure, dynamics, and evolution of the continental crust of North America?, Are the implementation and management plans for the three elements of EarthScope reviewed here appropriate to achieve their objectives?, and Have the appropriate partnerships required to maximize the scientific outcomes from EarthScope been identified in the planning documents?

Review of EarthScope Integrated Science presents the committee's findings and recommendations. To reach its conclusions the committee reviewed extensive written material and listened to presentations by members of the EarthScope Working Group and other interested scientists. The recommendations encompass science questions, management, education and outreach, and partnerships. Overall the committee was impressed by the EarthScope initiative.

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