Collaborative Efforts in the East African Rift System

  Fillmore ABC, Grand Hyatt San Francisco
345 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA
Thursday, December 12, 2013, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Conveners Part 1: C. Ebinger, T. Fischer, S. Kattenhorn
Conveners Part 2: D.S. Stamps, W. Nelson, R. Moucha, A. Nyblade

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPart I – The Eastern Branch Focus Site

The GeoPRISMS focus site and affiliated sites in the East African Rift (EAR) system pose tantalizing research opportunities, as well as logistical challenges for new data acquisition, and access to existing in-country data sets (e.g., aeromag, reflection).

Coordination of research and educational activities with African geoscientists may be challenging, both in terms of finding partners, and liaising with the relatively small research community. Coordination of field programs, and ideas for collaborative training opportunities enables fuller, more rewarding interactions with our international colleagues. Our mini-workshop is planned to coordinate and facilitate planning and training activities in or concerning the Eastern rift focus site. Our goals are to review existing data sets and active projects, including rapidly expanding geothermal exploration, paleoanthropological studies, and geohazards initiatives (e.g., GEMS), to facilitate team-building and collaborative experiments, and to share experience. Early-career scientists in particular are encouraged to attend. Prior to the AGU meeting, we will work with GeoPRISMS to develop a web-based template for region-specific planning in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. We encourage others to add to this template, which will be hosted by GeoPRISMS. Early identification of project partners enables the African colleagues time to apply for in-country or USAID funds to support their full participation in field and laboratory research.

Cynthia Ebinger, University of Rochester
Tobias Fischer, University of New Mexico

Simon Kattenhorn, University of Idaho

Part 2 – Synoptic Studies of the East African Site

The East African Rift System (EARS) offers an unparalleled opportunity to synthesize disparate studies that produce data pertinent to understanding the fundamental geodynamics of continental rifting. In 2012 during the GeoPRISMS EARS planning workshop, the community identified synoptic investigations along the entire EARS as a Collaborate Target of Opportunity. The initial questions posed in the implementation plan suggested studies aimed at understanding the wide variations in the origin, composition, and timing of volcanism, the rate and distribution of strain along and across the rift systems and large-scale pre-rift structure and dynamics underpinning the rift system. However, at the time of the workshop, the details of the implementation plan were not identified. In addition, there may be interest in investigating other processes that span the entire length of the EARS (e.g. natural hazards, tectonic-climatic interactions, large-scale mantle dynamics, etc.) that were not discussed at the planning workshop. Due to the size and complexity of the rift-system and the challenges involved in coordinating multi-country fieldwork, a community effort will be required to address synoptic studies of the EARS. To encourage community discussion, forward-thinking, and to capitalized on the timing of GeoPRISMS funding cycles, we as a community need to identify and define possible system-wide, multi-disciplinary, collaborative investigations in the EARS. The timing is also ideal for combining efforts to leverage the NSF PIRE program which will accept proposals in July 2015. To this end, we will host a timely, structured mini-workshop with the following goals:

  1. Identify specific synoptic studies of interest to the GeoPRISMS community.
  2. Identify existing datasets and what data sets are needed to address multi-disciplinary synoptic studies.
  3. Assess interest in a community proposal for submission to the July 2015 GeoPRISMS solicitation.
  4. Provide a networking opportunity to foster mentoring of young investigators and team building.
D.Sarah Stamps, MIT
Wendy Nelson, University of Houston
Rob Moucha, Syracuse University
Andy Nyblade, Penn State University

PART I – Opportunities and Challenges in GeoPRISMS EAR Focus Site

6:30 – 6:40  GeoPRISMS introduction | icon-file 3 MbPeter van Keken
6:40 – 6:50  Existing data, ongoing projects and opportunities for capacity-building | Cindy Ebinger
6:50 – 7:00  Opportunities for collaboration with geothermal exploration groups |   1MbTobias Fischer
7:00 – 7:10  Brief scientific overview and logistical challenges |  375KbSimon Kattenhorn
7:10 – 7:30  Question and answer session


PART II – Collaborative Efforts for Synoptic Studies of the East African Site |   7.0Mb

7:45 – 7:50  Introduction and objectives | D.Sarah Stamps
7:50 – 8:05  Community-driven proposals | James Gaherty
8:05 – 8:15  Existing datasets | Wendy Nelson, Rob Moucha, Andy Nyblade
8:15 – 8:45  Instructions and group discussions
8:45 – 8:55  Conveners compile responses
8:55 – 9:05  Disseminate results
9:05 – 9:10  Closing remarks

Collaborative Efforts in the East African Rift System (6:30-9:30 pm, December 12, 2013)

“Collaborative Efforts in the East African Rift System”, Kattenhorn, S., Ebinger, C., Fischer, T., Stamps, D.S., Nelson, W., Moucha, R., Nyblade, A.; GeoPRISMS Newsletter, Issue No. 32, Spring 2014.

The AGU GeoPRISMS Mini-Workshop on Collaborative Efforts in the East African Rift System was held Thursday evening, 12 December 2013 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in San Francisco during the AGU Fall Meeting. It was well attended with 50 participants, 9 of whom were graduate students and 7 were postdoctoral researchers. This workshop had two sections sharing a common theme of bringing scientists together to discuss collaborative efforts underscored by the GeoPRISMS East African Rift System (EARS) implementation plan.