Division of Ocean Sciences - Fall/Winter 2001 Newsletter
NSF 02-055
(Replaces NSF 01-127)

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Marine Geology and


All four MARGINS initiatives (Seismogenic Zone, Subduction Factory, Rupturing of Continental Lithosphere, and Source to Sink) are competing for ~$5 million in funding in the fourth MARGINS competition. Due to an earlier submittal deadline (November 1), funding decisions will also be made earlier, in the February-March 2002 time frame. The Program has received a total of 37 proposals for this competition (4 for SEIZE, 14 for SubFac, 10 for RCL and 9 for S2S). The RCL proposals include 3 for the Red Sea focus area and 6 for the Gulf of California/Salton Sea focus area. To encourage wider collaboration with scientists from countries surrounding the RCL focus site in the Red Sea, the MARGINS Office recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Geological Survey that will promote greater logistical and scientific cooperation with Saudi Arabia.

The MARGINS community held a workshop in July 2001 on the combined topics of the Mid Americas Seismogenic Zone and Subduction Factory. The main objective of the workshop was to provide, with more specificity than the overall MARGINS Science Plan (see MARGINS web site: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/margins/Home.html), a strategy for implementing studies in the Central America Volcanic Arc (CAVA) and associated subduction zone. The following topics were addressed: 1) reconstructions of the incoming plate; 2) incoming plate structure and history; 3) forearc Structure; 4) forearc deformation; 5) fluid and heat interaction between lower and upper plate; 6) seismogenic zone earthquakes and earthquake history; 7) deep subduction zone structure; 8) arc volcanism and the output of the subduction factory; 9) arc volatiles; 10) hazards and effects on local populations; and 11) insights from other regions — Nankai, IBM, Japan, and the Aleutians. The workshop also held several specific planning sessions that included incoming plate kinematics and their seismic, chemical and volcanic aspects; mass, fluids, volcanism and heat transfer; and geologic and climatic hazards. A workshop report will be available in early 2002. To ensure greater participation in the discussions, the MARGINS’ community also plans to hold several town meetings at the Fall AGU on the Nankai and the Central America Seismogenic Zone Experiments as well as on the Central America Subduction Factory studies.

A MARGINS Source-to-Sink workshop of community representatives was convened at NSF in August to review and update their science plan. The participants were asked to better define the program’s objectives and set priorities, including details of the schedule and sequencing to implement the science objectives of this initiative. The draft revisions were incorporated in the S2S science plan in time for the community to submit proposals for the November 1 deadline.

In other news, the MARGINS Program intends to promulgate a Fellowships plan for MARGINS that will be incorporated in the MARGINS program announcement early in 2002. The Fellowship plan is designed to encourage multidisciplinary research on MARGINS problems related to the four initiatives. The MARGINS Program has also drafted a data policy statement that will obligate funded Principal Investigators to meet a series of data management requirements to maximize collaboration and data transfer within the program.

RIDGE 2000

The RIDGE Program ended on the last day of September, and RIDGE 2000 started the next day. The RIDGE 2000 program announcement is available on the GEO home page (http://www.nsf.gov/home/geo/). Information on the RIDGE 2000 program is available on the RIDGE 2000 home page (RIDGE2000.bio.psu.edu). In particular the “RIDGE 2000 Program Summary” and “RIDGE 2000 Integrated Studies Site Selection Panel Summary of Proceedings” provide summaries of the reorganization.

The reorganization of the program began in 1999, and Dave Christie did an admirable job of guiding the program through the many meetings and workshops involved. We wish him well in getting back to his research, as well as Carol Chin, Randy Keller and Chris LeBoeuf who put an incredible effort into organizing all the meetings and workshops.

Chuck Fisher has been selected as the new chair of the RIDGE 2000 steering committee and the RIDGE 2000 Office is located at Penn State (221 Mueller Lab., Penn. State U, University Park, PA; 814-865-7434; RIDGE2000@psu.edu; (http://www.RIDGE2000.bio.psu.edu). In addition to Chuck, the R2K office will be manned by Program Assistant Patty Nordstrom, Education and Outreach Coordinator Liz Goehring and an, as yet unnamed, office coordinator.

ESH/MESH: (Marine aspects of) Earth System History

During the last year, MESH took the lead in developing a focused research effort on Holocene Climate Variability. A workshop organized by the MESH Program Office and NSF, along with input from the wider scientific community, identified a series of research questions. Answers to these questions will provide important clues to the nature of Holocene climate variability that occurred on human time scales beyond the observed instrumental record of climate. The workshop resulted in a research plan that outlines a focused effort on Holocene Climate Variability that will be part of the ESH Program. The Holocene research plan and priorities can be found on the NSF Web page (http://www.geo.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/showprog.p1?-id=90&div=oce). We anticipate that additional focused research efforts will be developed as part of ESH/MESH over the next few years. If you are interested in helping to develop a particular research focus, contact Bill Curry at the MESH Program Office (wcurry@whoi.edu).

MG&G Metadata Management System

Since the FUMAGES workshop in 1996, we have been evaluating infrastructure issues within the MGG community. Data management has been a long-standing problem. Last May, Debbie Smith, Suzanne Carbotte, Bill Ryan, Steve Cande, Steve Miller, and Dawn Wright organized a workshop on Data Management for Marine Geology and Geophysics. The report of that workshop is available at http://humm.whoi.edu/DBMWorkshop/.

The workshop resulted in two overarching recommendations: that active archives be created for all MGG data, and that a searchable metadata catalog be created. Creation of active archives will, for the most part, occur on a distributed basis as community needs dictate. Some are already operational, such as the RIDGE multibeam database. The metadata catalog does not exist, and we are considering how to implement this recommendation.

Compliance with OCE (http://www.geo.nsf/oce/programs/oceandat.htm) and NSF data policies has also been a long-standing problem. The NSF Grant Policy Guide (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2002/nsf022/nsf0202_2.html) states that the proposal Project Description should include “plans for preservation, documentation, and sharing of data, samples, physical collections, curriculum materials and other related research and educational products.” Within MGG we consider this appropriate for all proposals and ask PIs to tell us how they are complying. Progress reports must include plans for such compliance, and final reports must document compliance. Approval of a final report will depend on such compliance, and failure to document it could delay the processing of any future financial support for the responsible Principal Investigator.


Brian Midson has joined the MG&G Program as the new Science Assistant, replacing Lisa Crowder who has chosen a yeo-person’s adventurous life on board the JOIDES Resolution with ODP. Brian hails from the University of Hawaii and is widely known to many in the MG&G community. Brian will be happy to answer many of the routine questions from the PIs concerning the MG&G, MARGINS, RIDGE and MESH proposals, deadline, target dates, etc. He can be reached at 703-292-7585, or via email at bmidson@nsf.gov.

Bilal Haq (bhaq@nsf.gov)
Dave Epp (depp@nsf.gov)
Rodey Batiza (rbatiza@nsf.gov)
Dick Poore (rpoore@nsf.gov)
Brian Midson (bmidson@nsf.gov)

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