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ASU takes over EarthScope national office from Oregon State


January 10, 2012

Editor's Note: Arizona State University men’s basketball will take on Oregon State University at 6 p.m., Jan. 14, in Tempe. The women’s teams play at 7 p.m., Jan. 12,  in Corvallis, Ore. Read more about ASU's collaborations with Pac-12 schools.

Arizona State University has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the new host university for the EarthScope National Office. The EarthScope program centers on exploration and discovery of the 4-D structure and evolution of the North American continent, but also encompasses studies of Earth structure and dynamics throughout the planet.

The rotating, university-based national office has been at Oregon State University since 2007. It was established that year through a four-year nearly $2.4 million grant to facilitate scientific planning and coordinate education and outreach efforts for the EarthScope community.

ASU wrote a competitive proposal to be chosen next for the office, says Ramón Arrowsmith, the new director of the EarthScope office and a professor in the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. ASU worked closely with Oregon State during the transition.

EarthScope is an NSF program that deploys thousands of seismic, GPS, and other geophysical instruments to contribute to our understanding of our dynamic Earth, North America specifically, and the processes that cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. These instruments installed across the United States measure the motion of Earth’s surface, record seismic waves, and recover rock samples from depths at which earthquakes originate.

They provide an unprecedented amount of geophysical and geological data to address the processes that formed and continue to shape North America. Their analysis is conducted by the EarthScope community in remarkably interdisciplinary ways.

“EarthScope gives us an unprecedented view of the earth’s structure and processes and the scientific community gathered around these data and research questions innovatively answers some of the most outstanding questions in the Earth sciences,” says Arrowsmith.

“ASU is a particularly attractive site for the EarthScope national office because of the breadth and depth of EarthScope-type studies here. The unique combination of the expertise and experience of the project team coupled with ASU’s fertile academic and research environment and expanding facilities makes bringing the ESNO to ASU an  exceptional fit for the next phase of EarthScope. Our PI team has been involved with EarthScope since its inception.”

Joining Arrowsmith is geoscience education researcher Steve Semken, also a professor in SESE, who will be the deputy director in charge of leading new education and outreach activity for EarthScope. SESE professors Ed Garnero and Matt Fouch will serve as EarthScope principal investigators. Wendy Taylor is also a principal investigator and will be the education and outreach (E&O) program coordinator.

More information on EarthScope is available online at: www.earthscope.org.