Arizona Geological Survey

Tucson, AZ, United States

Arizona Geological Survey

Tucson, AZ, United States

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News Article | April 21, 2016
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

When you grow up in dry country, water in the wild seems almost supernatural. Visit one of those few places where permanent natural water sources exist, and you feel a bit like you've just crossed over into some sort of otherworldly realm. The ruins of long-vanished civilizations dot the desert landscape; ancient canals still flow from water source to field. Gigantic trees shade bare rock from relentless sun, their leaves whispering as they catch and tame the fierce desert breezes. These are places where geologic time and natural rhythms merge to create a place that seems to take you a step outside of time. I'm going to take you to one of those places right now. To get there, we'll travel through millions of years of tectonic shenanigans and the remains of an ancient lake. Let's start at the top: we'll begin at Jerome, Arizona, high up in the Black Hills. From here, we can gaze down into the Verde Valley, a graben that began forming ten million years ago as the crust stretched and movement began on the Verde Fault. The Black Hills, a rather magnificent little mountain range, rose up on the southern side. A valley formed between them and the Mogollon Rim escarpment to the north. See the mountains over there on the horizon? They're the San Francisco Peaks, and they stand atop the Colorado Plateau, the geologic province I grew up on. Behind you is the Basin and Range, where little fault-block mountain ranges march northwest like an army of caterpillars. You're looking over a province called the Transition Zone or the Central Highlands Physiographic Province, an in-between place, neither plateau nor basin but sharing features of both. You can find rocks here that also exist thousands of feet above on the Colorado Plateau. The mountains you're standing on and the valley you're looking down into are close cousins of the ones you'll find in the Basin and Range. It's an enchanting place, especially to those with a passion for geology. Now we travel down the steep flanks of the mountains, down the rolling foothills, and take a quick detour over to Tuzigoot National Monument for a lovely view of the Black Hills and one of the rarest sights in Arizona. Look down from the hilltop ruins, and you'll see a thick green snake winding its way across the valley floor. This is the always-flowing Verde River. Take especial note of it: it plays many parts in our story. We leave Tuzigoot and travel across the valley, exiting the highway near Camp Verde. The road twists and turns between cliffs of limestone. We're driving through ancient Lake Verde. Back before the Pleistocene, in the roughly eight million years between the Verde Valley forming and the forming of the Verde River, this basin hosted an intermittent lake. Like many places in the Basin and Range, streams drained the surrounding highlands, but had no outlet, so they'd end on the basin floor. Here, when it wasn't hot and dry enough to evaporate their waters, a lovely lake formed. The climate fluctuated several times over those millions of years. Lake Verde would sometimes be quite long, covering forty miles or so of the valley floor. In those wetter times, the limestone you're seeing formed in the center and along the margins. Unlike the thick marine limestones to the north and beneath this basin, it wasn't primarily made from critters with calcium-rich shells. You can find some shells from freshwater snails and other mollusks, but the greater amount of this limestone seems to have formed when groundwater dissolved some of the underlying Redwall limestone, a thick marine limestone deposited in shallow seas between 340-320 million years ago. The lime would precipitate out, forming thick deposits of tufa. A similar process is happening in the depths of the Great Salt Lake. When the climate got drier, Lake Verde would begin to shrink and grow shallow, like the Great Salt Lake is now. Mineral salts became concentrated, and as the water evaporated, thick deposits of salt and gypsum formed, especially at the southern end. Streams draining the highlands deposited red muds and rounded river rocks. Basalt lava flows from the north sometimes flowed all the way into the valley, spilling fingers of igneous rock over the lacustrine and fluvial sediments. Then the climate would change, and the lake would rise again, and lay new layers of sand and limestone. All of these various lake deposits are known as the Verde Formation. The boom and bust cycles of the lake laid down three hundred square miles of sediment that, as the Verde Valley continued to drop, reached a thickness of over three thousand feet in the center. Megafauna lived and died along the intermittent lake shores, leaving their bones behind to be buried in the sand and mud. Over nearly ten million years, deposition continued and eventually outpaced the slow descent of the basin, until the lake reached a high enough elevation to spill over the low pass between Hackberry Mountain and Table Mountain at the southern end. The breach drained the lake for good about two million years ago, and the Verde River was born. This was during the Pleistocene, and the river, fed by abundant moisture, flowed broad and bold. It carved through the rocks of the Verde Formation, leaving behind the mesas we're driving through here on the valley floor. Humans arrived about ten thousand years ago. They found perennial streams, abundant wildlife, and a warm, dry climate. And they found an oasis. House, P.K. and Pearthree, P.A. (1993): Surficial Geology of the Northern Verde Valley, Yavapai County, Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey.


News Article | April 28, 2016
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

After traveling through the remains of an ancient lake and the carvings of a powerful river, we've left the highway and driven up a dirt road, dust billowing around the car. We've been going up, but we're still very much within the Verde Valley. The limestone bones of the hills show dirty white through their covering of stubby trees and tough bushes. When we step from the car, the heat instantly makes a distant memory of the air conditioning. The dry air has a slightly chalky feel, and everything smells like sun-baked dust. People have talked about the Arizona sun, and with good reason: it's relentless, rebounding from any pale surface it can find and baking any dark ones. Shade is thin and hard to come by. Water just doesn't seem possible here. This place is called Montezuma Well, but Arizonans have a cruel habit of naming waterless washes creeks, so you don't believe the signs. You can imagine that the first humans in this valley weren't expecting much in the way of water, either. There are a few permanent watercourses, but most of them aren't up on hills. I doubt anyone came up here expecting to find an oasis. It's more likely they were hunting, or looking for a good, defensible location to build homes. Imagine their surprise when they reached the top of the hill, and found an enormous round hole nearly 400 feet in diameter, filled with gorgeous blue-green water. I can imagine they fairly screamed for joy. In the desert, finding this much water just placidly hanging out in one place is better than striking oil or finding the mother lode. So why is it here? Back in the days of Lake Verde, springs beneath the lake brought up abundant calcium carbonate, and deposited it as their waters hit the lake water. They ended up building a huge travertine mound, which persisted long after the lake drained and the rivers began carving up the valley floor. Now, the main water table is far below this mound, but a layer of impermeable mudstone deposited during a dry period in the lake's long history underlies Montezuma Well, forming a perched water table. At some point in its past, groundwater dissolved a cave in the mound. That cave's roof eventually collapsed, forming the sinkhole we see today. Fractures in the bedrock tap into the perched water table, forming two vigorous springs. And so we have this lovely pond. Just stand here for a moment and appreciate the fact that we are looking at 15 million gallons of water just hanging out in the middle of a freaking desert. The Hohokam and the Sinagua certainly appreciated it. Look around the rim, and you'll see little stone houses and storerooms built into the overhang of the cliffs. Around 900 years ago, the Sinagua moved down from northern Arizona, and around two hundred of them settled here, building southeast-facing cliff homes with the masonry techniques they'd picked up from the Anasazi. They learned how to dig irrigation canals from their Hohokam neighbors. And they thrived here for around three hundred years, farming the rich alluvial soils of Wet Beaver Creek, which flows by just outside the Well. They were intrepid Americans, with vast trading networks moving goods from the Hopi to the north and indigenous Mexican cultures far to the south. Geology had provided them with all the resources they needed to be enormously successful. And at the end of their busy work days, geology also provided them a wonderful pool to go swimming in. Let's go have a closer look. The pond may look somewhat shallow, as it's only covering the bottom of the sinkhole, but it's actually quite deep. There's a false bottom at 55 feet, formed from suspended, fluidized sand. The actual solid bottom varies: at the west spring, it's 124 feet down, while at the east it's only 74 feet below the pond's surface. The water is typically between 70-80° F, which makes for an ideal swimming temperature in this hot climate. Down at the bottom, tall, leafy trees shade the path along the shore of the pond. The Sinagua built another house here in a shallow cave. It wasn't just the cave that made this an ideal spot for a home. This is where the pond water vanished into a swallet, an outlet in the thick travertine walls. This is why, despite the springs bringing up 1.5 million gallons of water daily, the pond doesn't fill the entire sinkhole. You can watch the water bubbling and chuckling as it disappears down this short channel into the swallet. It's fascinating to watch. Cracks and crannies like this are abundant in the Verde Formation limestones, allowing groundwater to travel quite efficiently. We, on the other hand, will have to trudge back up the way we came. But we're about to see the most magical place in central Arizona. Cross the sun-battered top of the hill. Pass the ruins of Sinagua pueblos perched on the edge, looking over the valley. And then follow the trail down the outer wall of the Well. Suddenly, we're out of the scrubby piñon and juniper that thrives on top: between the cliff and the creek, tall Arizona sycamore and willow trees thrive. The sparse shade becomes abundant. The temperature drops by twenty degrees or more. The air is filled with the rustle of leaves and flowing of water. Along the cliff, a narrow but deep stream runs. You can follow it to its source: the outlet of the swallet. It's obviously not a natural stream. It's been deliberately shaped, in places walled up with small limestone blocks. What makes it utterly fantastic is the fact that it wasn't built by modern settlers. It's an ancient Sinagua canal, and it runs for almost a mile. The calcium-rich waters have deposited a natural cement, shoring up the walls and allowing it to survive this long. Some of the canals in the area date back 1,300 years. And some of them are still in use! This is a wonderful place to linger, sitting on huge limestone blocks that have fallen from the cliff, admiring the peaceful canal and gazing over the fast-flowing creek as you ponder the incredible chain of events that combined to form this desert karst oasis. House, P.K. and Pearthree, P.A. (1993): Surficial Geology of the Northern Verde Valley, Yavapai County, Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey. Johnson et al (2011): Water and rock geochemistry, geologic cross sections, geochemical modeling, and groundwater flow modeling for identifying the source of groundwater to Montezuma Well, a natural spring in central Arizona. USGS Open-File Report 2011-1063. Konieczki, A.D. and Leake, S.A. (1997): Hydrogeology and Water Chemistry of Montezuma Well in Montezuma Castle National Monument and Surrounding Area, Arizona. USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4156. Pearthree, Philip (1993): Geologic and Geomorphic Setting of the Verde River from Sullivan Lake to Horseshoe Reservoir. Arizona Geological Survey Open-File Report 93-4. Phillips, Patricia and Tecle, Aregai (2002): An Analysis of Human Settlement Impacts on Riparian Areas in the Beaver Creek Watershed of North Central Arizona. Hydrology and Water Resources in Arizona and the Southwest. No. 32. Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science.


News Article | November 3, 2015
Site: news.yahoo.com

A rare trio of earthquakes shook central Arizona Sunday (Nov. 1), startling residents in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. The largest quake was a magnitude-4.1 temblor, which hit at 11:29 p.m. local time. It was preceded by a magnitude-3.2 foreshock at 8:59 p.m. and was followed by a magnitude-4.0 aftershock at 11:49 p.m. Smaller aftershocks may follow, said Ryan Porter, a seismologist at Northern Arizona University. Earthquakes are "pretty uncommon for Arizona," Porter told Live Science. "So it's not unexpected, but it's not a very common event." This does not mean Arizona is seismically inactive. In fact, geophysicists have recorded hundreds of quakes each year in the state, though most are too small to be felt by humans. Particularly active is the Northern Arizona Seismic Belt in the north central part of the state, which is part of the wider Intermountain Seismic Belt of Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and southeastern California. Central Arizona is seismically quieter, however. Researchers haven't yet fully analyzed Sunday's quakes, which occurred between the depths of 3.1 miles and 5.9 miles (5 and 9.5 kilometers), near Black Canyon City. However, it's likely that the quakes occurred as a result of extensional forces pulling the crust apart in the area, Porter said. [The 10 Biggest Earthquakes in History] Arizona's seismic profile is split into three parts, according to the Arizona Geological Survey. In the northeast corner, east of the seismic belt, is the Colorado Plateau, a tectonically stable island in the crust that also covers parts of Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. The southern part of the state is the "basin and range" region, a landscape that alternates mountain ranges with basins or valleys. The topography of this region forms when the crust pulls apart, creating faults. On one side of the faults, the uplift of the crust forms abrupt, steep mountains; on the other side, the dropping of the crust creates flat basins. Between these two regions is the transition zone, a rugged geological gray area that slices from the northwestern corner of Arizona through the central part of the state, running between Flagstaff and Phoenix, and finally to the eastern border of the state. This transition zone marks the change from the stable, tectonically quiet Colorado Plateau to the stretched-apart basin and range geology to the south. Sunday's quakes were "in that transition zone between the relatively undeformed Colorado Plateau and the highly extended basin and range to the south," Porter said. In that transition zone, some of the same forces that pull apart the crust in southern Arizona are at play. No one has mapped the area of the fault that slipped, called a focal mechanism, during Sunday night's quakes, Porter said. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will likely release that information within days. However, a blog post by Arizona State University geology professor J. Ramón Arrowsmith noted that, just east of Black Canyon City, several active faults that run north to south have been mapped. The three latest quakes were lined up in a row running north to south, consistent with the patterns seen to the east. Most people who felt the quake reported light or weak shaking. According to the USGS, more than 4.6 million people live in the areas where shaking was reported. A magnitude-4.1 quake produces only minor damage, but faults in the transition zone are capable of producing temblors of up to a magnitude 7, according to the Arizona Geological Survey. The largest quake on record in Arizona was significantly smaller than that, however. That record holder, a magnitude 5.6, struck in July 1959 and shook items off of shelves in homes and stores in Fredonia, Arizona, where residents also reported damage to walls and chimneys. The shaking from that quake may also have caused a rockslide at Mather Point in the Grand Canyon, which is now one of the major visitor hubs in Grand Canyon National Park. The Arizona Geological Survey recommends that residents be earthquake-ready by securing heavy objects on shelves and walls, and evaluating heavy appliances like water heaters and refrigerators for safety in the event of a quake. During a quake, the safest thing to do is "drop, cover and hold on," preferably under a sturdy table or desk. More information on earthquake readiness is available in a 2012 pamphlet published by the Arizona Geological Survey. "Earthquakes do happen in Arizona," Porter said. "You should always be prepared, but it's not something to be panicked over." Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science. Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


News Article | March 7, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Kodachrome slides, held by geologist Greg Valentine of the University of Buffalo, show images of geologic formations associated with the supereruption of the Silver Creek caldera. More Can you outrun a supervolcano? New evidence from an ancient eruption suggests the answer is a surprising yes. "I wouldn't recommend anyone try to outrun a volcano, but there's a few of us that could," said Greg Valentine, a volcanologist at the University at Buffalo in New York. By analyzing rocks trapped in volcanic ash, Valentine and his colleagues discovered the lethal ash flow spread at street speeds — about 10 to 45 mph (16 to 72 km/h). It might be hard to sustain this pace on foot, but it's certainly possible by car. [Big Blasts: History's 10 Most Destructive Volcanoes] The findings were published today (March 7) in the journal Nature Communications. "It's really interesting how you can have such a violent eruption producing such slow-moving flows," said Valentine, co-author of the new study. "They still devastate a huge area, but they're slow and concentrated and dense," he told Live Science. His collaborators include Olivier Roche, of Blaise Pascal University in France and David Buesch, of the U.S. Geological Survey. Of course, the safest way to deal with any rumbling volcano is to get as far away as possible. Lots of distance can prevent the most common cause of death associated with volcanoes: being trapped and suffocated by a torrent of ash, rocks and superhot gas that explode out at speeds of up to 300 mph (about 480 km/h). These "pyroclastic flows" are the real volcanic killer, not lava. A pyroclastic flow wiped out the Roman town of Pompeii, and in 1902, Mount Pelée on Martinique unleashed a pyroclastic flow that killed some 29,000 people. [Preserved Pompeii: Photos Reveal City of Ash] You should still evacuate Volcanologists try to account for such hazards when planning for future disasters. But it's hard to know what will happen when a supervolcano the size of Yellowstone blows its top. The last supereruption on Earth was 74,000 years ago, in Toba, Indonesia. Looking at the rocky remains of past supereruptions can reveal how and why supervolcanoes erupt. When a supervolcano blew in Arizona 18.8 million years ago, the ash spread more than 100 miles (160 km). This single layer, called the Peach Springs Tuff, is more than 450 feet (140 meters) thick in the area close to the volcano and 10 feet (3 m) thick at its edge, 100 miles away. (A tuff is a volcanic rock made of solidified ash.) The researchers measured rocks at the bottom of the tuff in Arizona that were carried in the flow. They matched unique rock types back to their source, and found that many of the rocks, whether fist-size or boulders, were carried no farther than a football field. Accounting for the size and position of these rocks helped the researchers build a model of how fast and thick the ash flow was as it traveled. It turns out that only a dense, slow-moving pyroclastic flow could suck up the rocks from the surface and trundle them along. A fast, relatively thin flow would have to reach impossible speeds — up to 1,454 mph (2,340 km/h) — to carry the rocks, the researchers found. "I think it's plausible but speculative," said Calvin Miller, a volcanologist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, who was not involved in the study. "It will be interesting to see how the [scientific] community responds to it. Even if they're right for the Peach Springs Tuff, this is just part of a continuum of eruption styles," Miller told Live Science. The origins of the Peach Springs Tuff can be spotted in southwestern Arizona's Black Mountains, near the town of Oatman. The eruption left behind a very large crater called a caldera, though it has been mostly obliterated by erosion and faulting. The caldera, called Silver Creek, spewed magma for several days, releasing a volume of about 1,000 times the Mississippi River's daily flow at New Orleans, Valentine said. "If you think about 1,000 Mississippi Rivers coming out of the ground, you can see how [the ash] would have spread out across a huge area," he said. However, one expert on the Peach Springs Tuff doesn't buy the scenario. Charles Ferguson, a research geologist with the Arizona Geological Survey, said there are outcrops that suggest the ash moved quickly and energetically, like a typical pyroclastic flow.


The Space-Shuttle Radar Topography Mission provided geologists with a detailed digital elevation model of most of Earth's land surface. This new database is used here for structural analysis of grooved surfaces interpreted to be the exhumed footwalls of three active or recently active extensional detachment faults. Exhumed fault footwalls, each with an areal extent of one hundred to several hundred square kilometers, make up much of Dayman dome in eastern Papua New Guinea, the western Gurla Mandhata massif in the central Himalaya, and the northern Tokorondo Mountains in central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Footwall curvature in profile varies from planar to slightly convex upward at Gurla Mandhata to strongly convex upward at northwestern Dayman dome. Fault curvature decreases away from the trace of the bounding detachment fault in western Dayman dome and in the Tokorondo massif, suggesting footwall flattening (reduction in curvature) following exhumation. Grooves of highly variable wavelength and amplitude reveal extension direction, although structural processes of groove genesis may be diverse.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 252.51K | Year: 2012

EarthCube is a joint venture between the Directorate of Geosciences and the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation. It is a community-driven effort to design and implement an effective data and knowledge management system for the geosciences that will integrates disparate data sets and web services and serves all members of the geoscience community. This planning and assesment project collects and synthesizes the prodigious amount of geoscience and cyberinfrastrucutre community input on possible governance structures for EarthCube that were generated in the run up to the June 2012 EarthCube meeting and actities that have happened during the post meeting timeframe. The project focuses on broadening grass roots geoscience engagement in the process, deepening the input and collecting science-drivers from geoscience communities, and organizing and summarinzing all information so it can be used effectively by the initial EarthCube governance body that will be selected in early 2013. The PI and his outreach team will hold face-to-face and virtual meetings as well as attend and run Town Hall meeings at professional society meetings to engage stakeholders. An important aspect of the project will be to identify community needs and incorporate their suggestions into the final summaries. Project goals also include building stakeholder alignment around shared goals in terms of producing ways to establish standardization of data practices and aspects of its management as well as create a community consensus structure for the evaluation of new tools and utilities. Broader impacts of the work are focused primarily on building infrastructure for science in terms of informing the development of an effective and well received community governance structure.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: EarthCube | Award Amount: 93.15K | Year: 2014

Data facilities provide a key resource in the pursuit of innovative scientific research by
aggregating, preserving, and disseminating large quantities of data sets, including highly
complex petabyte scale data to more simple metadata catalogs. The proposed workshop provides
a forum for leaders from these facilities, regardless of scale, type or format of data, to
gather and discuss commonalities and collaborative solutions to the increasing challenges
associated with providing data access for researchers. In addition, this workshop will act
as a key end-user Assembly Group during the EarthCube Test Enterprise Governance process to
identify decision making processes and governance models that are most applicable to the geoscience
data facilities.

A steering committee of experts from across the Geosciences, including Atmosphere, Oceans,
and Earth Sciences will act to identify key participants and create a quality agenda. Social
scientists will be utilized to ensure developmental evaluation and learning loops are incorporated
into the agenda; this includes the construction of key scenarios and exercises for discussion
and breakout groups.

Results of the meeting will include a set of common and unique requirements and challenges
associated with the communication, collaboration, interoperability, and governance structures
required to ensure that the capabilities and opportunities of existing and emerging NSF/GEO
facilities are incorporated into the EarthCube concept.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: INTERNATIONAL COORDINATION ACT | Award Amount: 462.33K | Year: 2016

The aim of this award is to provide strategic coordination for a series of US and international activities that focus on e-infrastructure and data management challenges in an effort to deliver effective end-to-end (basic research to decision making) global environmental research by facilitating collaboration among engineers, computer, natural, and social scientists from the United States and many countries across the globe through a Knowledge Hub. The funds will be used to support the collaboration between US researchers and approximately 120 researchers from the 13 participating Belmont Forum countries and the coordination of the strategic network of activities through a secretariat. Knowledge Hub activities such as virtual working groups and in-person workshops will focus on two thematic areas: governance and interoperability in architectures.

The resulting e-Infrastructure and Data Management activities will address interoperability challenges across the globe and integrate national and international research efforts to promote more holistic environmental decision support systems for global environmental change research. A key outcome of these collaborative efforts will be enhanced interoperability among global environmental data that will help develop beneficial societal products.

The coordination of these e-infrastructure and data management activities represents an extraordinary opportunity to bring together international leaders in interoperability, standards development, and various aspects of governance to seek a synoptic world vision. This program will create opportunities for enhancing the career trajectories of a new generation of researchers in the U.S. and across the globe. The activities will expose US early-career scientists to interdisciplinary, multi-institutional activities focused on environmental data and cyberinfrastructure where they can benefit not only from the US participants but also their counterparts from 13 other countries.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: INTERNATIONAL COORDINATION ACT | Award Amount: 652.65K | Year: 2014

This award is designated as a Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) award and is being co-funded by the NSFs Directorate for Geosciences, Directorate of Computer Information Science and Engineerings Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) Division and Office of International and Integrative Activities. The aim of this award is to deliver an e-infrastructure and data management roadmap and implementation plan for effective end-to-end (basic research to decision making) global environmental change research by facilitating collaboration among engineers, computer, natural, and social scientists from the United States and many countries across the globe through a Knowledge Hub. The funds will be used to support the collaboration between 14 US researchers and approximately 120 researchers from the 13 participating Belmont Forum countries and the coordination of the Knowledge Hub activities through a secretariat. Knowledge Hub activities such as virtual working groups and in-person workshops will focus on two thematic areas: governance and interoperability in architectures.

The resulting e-Infrastructure and Data Management Strategy and Implementation Plan will serve as a clear roadmap to address and prioritize interoperability challenges across the globe and integrate national and international research efforts to promote more holistic environmental decision support systems for global environmental change research. A key outcome of these collaborative efforts will be enhanced interoperability among global environmental data that will help develop beneficial societal products.

The development of this e-infrastructure and data management Knowledge Hub represents an extraordinary opportunity to bring together international leaders in interoperability, standards development, and various aspects of governance to seek a synoptic world vision. This virtual institute will create opportunities for enhancing the career trajectories of a new generation of researchers in the U.S. and across the globe. The Knowledge Hub will expose US early-career scientists to interdisciplinary, multi-institutional activities focused on environmental data and cyberinfrastructure where they can benefit not only from the US participants but also their counterparts from 13 other countries.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: EarthCube | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2012

EarthCube is focused on community-driven development of an integrated and interoperable knowledge management system for data in the geo- and environmental sciences. By utilizing a cooperative, as opposed to competitive, process like that which created the Internet and Open Source software, EarthCube will attack the recalcitrant and persistent problems that so far have prevented adequate access to and the analysis, visualization, and interoperability of the vast storehouses of disparate geoscience data and data types residing in distributed and diverse data systems. This awards funds a series of broad, inclusive community interactions to gather adequate information and requirements to create a roadmap for a critical capability (governance) in the development of EarthCube, a major new NSF initiative. Community/stakeholder buy-in and adoption of standards; common tools and aproaches, if possible; best practices; cyberinfrastructure protocols; and workflows are essential to any holistic approach to creating an interoperable and service-oriented architecture that serves the needs of the geoscience research community wishing to do data-enabled science. The funded series of online/virtual workshops that will engage a brod spectrum of the geoscience community were considered innovative and exciting, especially the proposed application of social networking outreach utilities to engage early career scientists and students. A prime deliverable of the project will be a road map of how to move forward in terms of setting up broadly agreed upon structures to oversee the development of EarthCube activities in the associated working groups and concept grants. Broader impacts of the work include converging on mutually agreed upon processes to allow decision making with regard to whether or not standards or specific protocols should be established, and if so what they should be. They also include the fostering of close interaction between communities that do not commonly interact with one another (the geosciences and those in cyberinfrastructure and computer science) and focusing them on the common goal of creating a new paradigm in data and knowledge management in the geosciences.

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