Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology

Washington, Washington, United States

Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology

Washington, Washington, United States
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Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: CONTINENTAL DYNAMICS PROGRAM | Award Amount: 24.49M | Year: 2012

The academic community is addressing science questions as described, for example, in the 1996 Future of Marine Geology and Geophysics (FUMAGES) report, that require short- and long-term deployments of large numbers of ocean-bottom seismometers and/or ocean-bottom hydrophones. In addition to supporting research funded through the NSF Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) Marine Geology & Geophysics Core Program, there is increasing use of ocean bottom seismometers by the EarthScope, Continental Dynamics, Ocean Drilling Program, and GeoPRISMS Programs. To provide the large number of instruments needed to support these programs, maintain the necessary technical capability, and provide access to Ocean-Bottom Seismic Instruments for a broad user community, the Ocean-Bottom Seismic Instrument Pools (OBSIP) were established in 1999. In light of the continuing demand for ocean bottom seismometers, the Marine Geology and Geophysics Program of OCE invited proposals to establish a Management Office for OBSIP (OMO). The OMO will provide essential improvements in oversight and management for OBSIP. Broader impacts of the OMO include its inherent contribution to the U.S. science infrastructure, support for the broad scientific objectives of the Marine Geology & Geophysics Program, and its specific contribution to scientific objectives that have particularly high societal relevance, such as earthquake hazards in the Cascadia region Washington, Oregon and Northern California.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 73.80K | Year: 2014

This award will support a 2-day workshop for 40 participants to catalyze relationships between early career disciplinary researchers in the earth, atmospheric, ocean, and polar sciences and discipline-based education researchers (DBERs) in the geosciences. These relationships are critical for two reasons: (1) to address the foundational research needed on how people learn geoscience content and develop into expert geoscientists and (2) to facilitate early career geoscientists in enhancing the broader impacts of their research. The workshop will be convened to grow mutually beneficial research collaborations amongst early career investigators that will build upon the extant literature. This workshop will promote networking amongst geoscience investigators and DBERs to broaden perspectives, develop connections, and nurture a community of future leaders for the geoscience community. The participants at this workshop will establish professional relationships that are likely to inform research and educational practices for the community at large. Moreover, it is expected that through these interactions the teaching practices of both groups would be better informed and training of future geoscientists will be well informed by research results. The workshop will take place in the Washington DC area in August 2014.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: IRIS -OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE | Award Amount: 86.00M | Year: 2013

The IRIS Consortium (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) provides, via the Seismological Facilities for the Advancement of Geoscience and EarthScope (SAGE), a suite of community-governed, multi-user facilities for instrumentation and data management that support research and education in seismology and the Earth sciences. The facilities include a high-performance network of more than 150 permanent stations providing data for global studies of earthquakes and deep Earth structure; a mobile array of more than 400 seismometers and atmospheric sensors completing a traverse of the conterminous United States and deploying to Alaska; and more than 4000 portable instruments (including magnetotelluric systems) are available for short-and long-term loan to university-based researchers for detailed studies as part of NSF-funded field programs. Future observing needs are being addressed via systematic engineering efforts. Data from all of these observational systems, along with extensive collections of seismic data contributed by other organizations, are freely and openly available through the IRIS Data Management Center.

Data collected and distributed through IRIS facilities form the observational basis for most of the fundamental studies in seismology carried out by researchers at US universities and in many organizations worldwide. The stability and high quality of the permanent observatories capture both the short-term details of faulting during the seconds to minutes of rupture in major earthquakes as well as decadal-scale changes in global earthquake activity. Data from permanent, mobile, and portable arrays are used to resolve features in Earth structure over scales that range from the whole Earth, to lithosphere, to regional basins, to fault zones. These data provide fundamental information on Earth structure and processes that, in combination with other geoscience disciplines, contribute to enhanced understanding of how the active Earth evolves and deforms. As a part of EarthScope, these observations contribute to multidisciplinary studies that focus on the structure and dynamics of North America and contribute to unraveling the history of deformation of the continent.

The IRIS program in Education and Public Outreach directly links the public and schools with the activities of an academic research community by demonstrating how basic seismological observations are made and used in Earth science investigations. Through a variety of activities that extend from the provision of classroom and web resources, to museum displays, public lectures, and internships, IRIS encourages students to engage in scientific inquiry and appreciate the importance of the Earth sciences in their lives.

In addition to supporting fundamental research, the seismological resources provided by IRIS serve dual use by contributing directly to societal needs through reporting of global earthquake activity and applications in monitoring nuclear test ban treaties. Scientific and technical outreach by IRIS and its members as part of their international activities also provides assistance and guidance in the development and implementation of earthquake monitoring networks and hazard assessment, especially in developing countries.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: EARTHSCOPE-SCIENCE UTILIZATION | Award Amount: 150.32K | Year: 2016

The Subduction Zone Observatories (SZO) concept is a multidisciplinary facility and associated science program to study a significant portion of one or more of the circum-Pacific/Caribbean subduction zones as an integrated system. Subduction zones contain a rich diversity of tectonic processes operating at a wide range of temporal and spatial scales, from plate-scale over millions of years to grain-scale over microseconds. Subduction zones span continental to oceanic environments, and interact with biological processes and climate. Subduction zones are responsible for many of Earths most extreme natural events including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,
and tsunamis. These hazards coupled with increasing population density in these regions leads to an urgent need to understand how subduction zones work to better inform hazard assessment, mitigation, forecasting, and early warning. Emerging technologies, strong international partnerships, open access data, and the success of long-term community experiments supported by EarthScope and MARGINS/GeoPRISMS establish a strong foundation to investigate the entire subduction zone system from an integrated, multidisciplinary perspective and at multiple scales.

A Subduction Zone Observatory workshop will provide a critical forum to build community consensus across a range of disciplines and constituencies, and an opportunity for early career scientists and senior graduate students to help shape a new transformative initiative. A systems approach to the study of subduction zone processes promotes integration across multiple disciplines, interagency and international collaboration and partnerships, technological innovation, early career development, education and training for graduate students including students from underrepresented groups, and improved hazard assessment.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: EarthCube | Award Amount: 1.78M | Year: 2013

This Building Blocks project intends to extend the promotion of simple web services to simplify the task of discovering, accessing and using data from multiple sources. The investigators will promote the use of this system to manage data from the long tail of science and make it discoverable, removing it from the domain of dark data. Long tail data will come from both funded partner centers and from collaborators. They will extend their approach of exposing data sets through web services to those managed by non-NSF data centers both within the US as well as international data sets by providing resources to stand up web services
to expose the data holdings of other centers. A recurring theme in the EarthCube Domain Workshops was the need to simplify the workflows for sharing and discovery of data in geosciences. A significant amount of time is currently spent as hunters and gatherers of information and once finding that information to determine
how to understand and use data from domains outside a given researcher?s area of expertise. The development of the web services building block will significantly change the way in which much of the preparatory work will be accomplished. This building block will also develop the ability to expose dark data. The balance between the time spent on preparing and doing science will be reversed from the current state where the majority of time is spent in preparation and the minority of the time spent on doing the science. This will in itself have extremely broad impacts in geosciences research. The web services building blocks inherently enable horizontal integration across the geosciences with a resulting impact on the breadth of geosciences
problems that can be addressed.

The proposed expansion of simple web services into the geosciences will fundamentally change the way geoscientists do their research, combine information from across disciplines and communicate their results to the public, policy makers and educators.Exposing such data will significantly add to the body of knowledge
that can be brought to bear on geosciences problems. As problems become more and more complex, the diversity of data sets that must be considered and integrated for a better understanding of a vast range of geoscience problems will increase, and enhanced technologies and procedures will be required to synthesize and communicate the resulting knowledge between scientist and with the public. This building block is an effort to support that transition by engaging EarthCube cyberinfrastructure in developing, establishing and adopting international standards to allow geoscientists to focus on the science, thus increasing their productivity.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: EarthCube | Award Amount: 814.79K | Year: 2016

It is common to hear that it is optimal to perform computations necessary for the operation of corporations in the ?cloud? and it is true that many commercial companies are moving their information technology into that environment. Scientific data centers funded by the NSF have unique constraints that they must accommodate. Funding is limited and costs of managing data centers using cloud technology can be quite costly. Additionally, government funded research organizations typically have much smaller IT staffs than do corporations. The impact of managing IT operations in the cloud is not identical between large corporations and NSF funded data centers. In the GeoSciCloud project, two medium-size NSF funded data centers plan to deploy data collections along with cloud-based services in different environments in order to assess the feasibility and impact. These environments include:
- Commercial cloud environments such as those offered by Amazon, Google, and Microsoft and
- NSF supported large computing facilities that are just beginning to offer services that have characteristics of cloud computing
The operation of these infrastructures in these two cloud environments will be compared to current in-house environments and assessed.
This project will thereby help NSF/EarthCube identify the most suitable IT environment in which the EarthCube should deploy and support shared infrastructure. The potential reliability and cost-savings are excellent motivating factors.

IRIS and UNAVCO operate data centers with several hundred terabytes of data and services that match our communitys needs and requirements. Each organization currently operates its own infrastructure. GeoSciCloud tasks will include moving subsets of our archives, as a test, into commercial cloud and XSEDE cloud environments where we will compare and contrast several aspects of working in different infrastructures. GeoSciCloud partners will also deploy key services developed under the GeoWS building block to enable access to data sets by domain scientists.

GeoSciCloud will help EarthCube compare and contrast the three environments (XSEDE, Commercial Cloud, and current infrastructure) in the following areas:
- Gain an understanding of issues related to the ingestion of large data sets into the cloud and curating the data in a cloud environment.
- Compare processing times for real world requests for data by practicing domain scientists
- Test elasticity of the cloud for doing large amounts of digital signal processing of seismic data and reprocessing GPS solutions for long periods of time.
- Compare the speed of data egress from multiple environments including tests of using higher access systems such as Grid-FTP.
- Compare overall costs of operating in the three environments
- Document what the best practices are that emerge from the GeoSciCloud test that should be promoted within EarthCube.
- Perform conversion of data held in domain formats to more widely used formats such as HDF5 for improved interoperability.
- Test the reliability of streaming real time data into the cloud.
GeoSciCloud will also explore providing some infrastructure in support of other EarthCube partners so that multiple data centers can cohabitate within the GeoSciCloud. IRIS and UNAVCO will commit to ultimately demonstrate the utility of shared infrastructure and how it can improve the efficiency and economics within EarthCube and specifically shared infrastructure in a cloud environment.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 636.43K | Year: 2013

Intellectual Merit:
The ice dynamics and tectonic history of Ice-covered regions are poorly understood. Scientific investigations of these regions are hindered by extreme weather and complex logistical support. The PIs propose development of a new, rapid deployment, dense footprint, seismic observatory for ice-covered regions, the Geophysical Earth Observatory for Ice-Covered Environments (GEOICE). This seismic array will provide increased observational capabilities and logistical efficiencies needed to seismically image the structures and dynamic behavior of both the solid Earth and overlying ice in remote ice-covered regions. Instruments developed for GEOICE will be designed to withstand icy and/or wet environments and require minimal logistics. Research enabled by GEOICE includes: ice mass and sea level changes, solid earth structure, tectonics and ice sheet stability, and deep Earth structure and processes.

Broader impacts:
GEOICE will provide a community tool for achieving a better understanding of the Earths rapidly changing polar and ice-covered regions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes 2007 report concluded that poor understanding of glacial dynamics prohibits robust estimates of future sea-level. GEOICE will enable research that helps address this societally relevant issue. Simplified logistics enabled by GEOICE could lower the technical and logistical barriers that hinder young investigators in the polar regions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: INTERNATIONAL COORDINATION ACT | Award Amount: 186.01K | Year: 2013

Title: Collaborative Research: SAVI- Building a framework between the EU and the USA to harmonize data products relevant to global research infrastructures in the environmental field.

This award is designated as a Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) award and is being co-funded by NSF?s Office of International Science and Engineering. Four US environmental observatories (National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR) and collectively EarthScope, comprising USArray and the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), operated respectively by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and UNAVCO) are working together with their respective counterparts from the European Union on developing common data policies and standards relevant to global research infrastructures in the environment field.

The project goals include developing new understanding through broad harmonization of data and constructing multi- discipline, synergistic data products that have wider societal importance. In addition, these activities will help the scientific community to better develop coupled models that better capture critical feedbacks and interactions of the earth system. These models are needed to help make these types of data more accessible to decision-makers at many levels.

Linking these existing programs provides a unique opportunity for early career researchers and students to learn in a multi-disciplinary environment and to benefit not only from the US participants but also their European counterparts. The observatories will be developing graduate and post-graduate courses and the workshops will seek to include early career scientists and students.

The proposed activities will focus on addressing societally relevant challenges. Through case studies, ways of harmonizing data will be investigated with the goal of making the data from these observatories easier to include in effective decision-making. Disasters, carbon and water will likely be the first set of issues addressed.

This program is creating opportunities for enhancing the career trajectories of a new generation of researchers in Europe and the U.S. The virtual institute is providing mechanisms for exposing early-career scientists to interdisciplinary, multi-institutional activities focused on environmental data and cyberinfrastructure; arming them with new scientific tools to address challenging questions in harmonizing environmental data to help in effective decision making; and showing them how international partnerships can help to solve global problems. It is recruiting a diverse set of US and European students to create collaborative networks of environmental data and cyberinfrastructure experts across these countries.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 723.74K | Year: 2013

The Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network (GLISN) is a broadband, multi-use seismological network, enhanced by selected geodetic observations, designed with the capability to allow researchers to understand the changes currently occurring in the Arctic, and with the operational characteristics necessary to enable response to those changes as understanding improves. GLISN was established through an international collaboration, with 10 nations coordinating their efforts to develop the current 32-station observing network during the last four years. This project will continue operations of six key stations of the network, as well as data quality control and data-management for the network. It will also improve the telemetry capability at remote stations to maximize the scientific utility of the data, reduce data latency, and reduce logistics costs. Continued leadership by IRIS in the management and coordination of the International GLISN effort will ensure continued return of high-quality data from the full 32-station network. Observations from the GLISN network will allow improved estimation of the Earth structure under Greenland, critical for reliable estimation, interpretation, and prediction of changes in ice mass, sea level, and the crustal stress state. These observations will also allow greatly improved analysis of deformation within the ice sheet and at its calving margins due to processes including discrete ice-loss events, melt-water drainage, crevassing, and basal sliding. Seismic analysis provides unique information about glacier dynamics and sub-glacial geology, complementing other remote-sensing and in-situ observations. GLISN science and outreach will leverage and enhance outreach and education programs undertaken by the IRIS Consortium and its community.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: IRIS -OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE | Award Amount: 30.57M | Year: 2011

The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (the IRIS Consortium, operates multi-user facilities for the development, deployment, and operational
support of modern digital seismic instrumentation and data management to serve national and
international research and education in the Earth sciences. IRIS programs are overseen and
governed by a Consortium of 115 Member Institutions, comprising virtually every US university
with research programs in seismology. Consortium membership also includes 107 Foreign
Affiliates and 20 Educational Affiliates. IRIS collaborates with national and international
mission agencies, including the USGS, NOAA, DOE, DOD and the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty Organization, to leverage NSF investments to serve significant societal needs in the
monitoring of earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear test ban treaties.
The preeminence of US Earth science in investigations of the Earth?s interior and
earthquake sources rests in large part on the data and instrumentation facilities supported by NSF
and managed by IRIS. The programs and activities to be carried out by IRIS under this award
take their intellectual direction from a community-based long-range science plan described in the
2009 report: ?Seismological Grand Challenges in Understanding Earth?s Dynamic Systems?
( Seismology provides
a rich source of information on the structure and composition of Earths crust, mantle, and core
that, when coupled with other types of data in the growing number of interdisciplinary studies to
which IRIS is committed, continues to enhance our understanding the origin of the planet, its
evolution through geologic time, as well as the internal forces driving plate dynamics,
earthquakes, volcanism, and the geomagnetic field. Recent developments in seismic sensor design,
and the acquisition, transmission and storage of data have resulted in dramatic improvements in
the resolving power of seismic imaging of Earth?s interior and characterization of the earthquake
source. In addition to supporting basic research and discovery in the Earth sciences, the IRIS
facilities also contribute essential data, resources and educational materials to programs with
broad societal impact related to earthquake hazard mitigation, groundwater, energy and mineral
The facilities and services managed by IRIS include:
? Instrumentation Services - operation and support for the 150 permanent broadband
stations of the Global Seismographic Network (in collaboration with the USGS) and a pool of
more than 2000 portable instruments of the Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental
Lithosphere (PASSCAL) for denser deployments in NSF-funded research projects both in the US
and abroad.
? Data Services ? free and open access through the IRIS Data Management Center to all
data collected by IRIS programs or contributed by numerous national and international partners,
along with support for software development, user tools, training services and data products to
facilitate broad data utilization and encourage high quality standards in data collection and data
? Education and Public Outreach - creating materials and tools to encourage the public
and educators at all levels to explore seismological data and advance awareness and
understanding of seismology & Earth science, while inspiring careers in geophysics.
Under the new Cooperative Agreement with NSF starting in 2011, IRIS will merge its
long-standing support for Polar studies in both the Antarctic and Arctic with its other core
services; move towards integrated management, starting in 2013, of its core programs with the
related facilities of the USArray component of EarthScope; and continue to explore emerging
opportunities to support research and hazard mitigation efforts in earthquake prone areas of the
developing world.

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