CfA Colloquium: March 13, 2003

Speaker: James Davis (CfA)

Title: EarthScope: An Astronomical Approach to an Earth Observatory

Abstract: EarthScope is the first initiative from the solid-Earth science community for an integrated national observing system. The EarthScope Observatory will use latest space-geodetic, sensor, and communication technology to provide Earth scientists with synoptic and high-resolution data derived from a variety of geophysical sensors. There are three components of EarthScope. The USArray will be a moveable array of seismic instrumentation to provide high-resolution structural images of the continental lithosphere and deeper mantle. SAFOD will be a 4-km deep hole drilled through the San Andreas fault, and is designed to directly monitor this previously unreachable region. The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) component of EarthScope is a space-geodetic observatory designed to study the three-dimensional deformation field of the crust that results from forces associated with the interaction of the Pacific and North American plates. The PBO concept is based, to a great extent, on the Basin and Range Geodetic Network (BARGEN), a collaboration between CfA and Caltech scientists. I will review the scientific results from previous projects like BARGEN that provided our first glimpses of the complexity of plate boundaries. I will also present the new science objectives for the EarthScope Observatory.