GeoPRISMS Community Seismic Experiment along the Eastern North American Margin

  Concordia Room, Westin San Francisco,
50 Third Street, San Francisco, CA
Thursday, December 8, 2011, 11:30am – 1:30pm


Conveners: The GeoPRISMS Office on behalf of the ENAM Community

AnnouncementAgenda/Presentation archiveRead the report

The imminent arrival of the EarthScope transportable array (TA) and selection of the Eastern North American Margin (ENAM) as a GeoPRISMS primary site, are defining exciting new research opportunities along this margin. In addition, the USGS is responsible for coordinating the collection of seismic data along the eastern seaboard as part of the US Extended Continental Shelf Project under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Tentatively, USGS surveys in the ENAM area will take place in 2013 using the R/V Langseth seismic vessel, providing potential opportunities for piggy-back experiments.

This convergence of interest in ENAM, and the presence of the R/V Langseth in Atlantic waters, offers a unique opportunity to conduct a community seismic experiment along the ENAM, benefiting a large number of researchers, especially students and early-career investigators. Improved seismic imaging of the margin, both shallow and deep, onshore and off, would address a wide range of GeoPRISMS and related research objectives. It can yield a backbone dataset for studying the deep structure of the margin, its structural and stratigraphic architecture, ongoing geodynamic processes, economic potential, and many other aspects.

If you would like to learn more, participate in, and/or contribute to planning discussions about the scope and objectives of such a community seismic experiment, please register to attend the luncheon. The luncheon discussion will include:

  • Identifying and prioritizing scientific objectives for an ENAM seismic experiment
  • Possible end-member survey scenarios (e.g., minimum cost vs. comprehensive coverage)
  • How to engage and coordinate with potential partners (USGS, Industry)
  • Data access requirements and expectations (and schedules)
  • How to prepare and submit a community proposal
Harm van Avendonk (UT Austin)
Beatrice Magnani (U. Memphis)
Donna Shillington (Lamont)
Nathaniel Miller (WHOI/MIT)
Daniel Brothers (USGS, Woods Hole)

Jared Kluesner (UC Santa Cruz)

11:30 Introduction and background

11:30 Motivation, objectives and approach | icon-file 2 Mb – Harm van Avendonk & Beatrice Magnani
11:40 Summary of Fall ENAM workshop and selected focus areas | Vadim Levin
11:50 Proposed USGS Extended Continental Shelf surveys |  496 Kb – Daniel Brothers, Uri ten Brink
12:00 Potential industry partnerships | Harm van Avendonk
12:10 What is a community experiment | Donna Shillington
Cascadia Initiative example | TBA
Data processing, format, and access | Donna Shillington, Beatrice Magnani

12:20 Discussion

12:30 PM Possible Experiment Scenarios |  1 Mb – N. Miller, Daniel Brothers, J. Kluesner

End-Member Models
– One high-priority, margin normal, wide-angle onshore-offshore transect
– Multiple onshore-offshore wide-angle surveys (spacing, orientation)
Intermediate and alternate models, e.g.,
– Comprehensive coverage, shallow MCS survey
– Several wide-angle transects


1:00 PM Moving Forward with Community Involvement

Logistical constraints (ship scheduling, instrument pools, permitting)
– Offshore logistics | Donna Shillington & Harm van Avendonk
– Onshore logistics | icon-file 92 Kb – Beatrice Magnani
Discussion – Making it happen
– Who will be the “heroes”
– Preparing and submitting a community proposal to NSF
– Building an industry consortium
– Communication and participation (e.g., on-line forum)


Additional Contacts:
Dan Lizarralde (WHOI)
Matt Hornbach (Southern Methodist University)
Debbie Hutchinson (USGS, Woods Hole)

Julia Morgan (GeoPRISMS Office, Rice University)

Figure 1: Map of Discovery Corridors in ENAM focus area. The red shaded area is the target of the USGS seismic program on the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf. ECMA = East Coast Magnetic Anomaly, BSMA = Blake Spur Magnetic Anomaly.

U.S. Earth Scientists Prepare for a Comunity Seismic Experiment at the ENAM Primary Site, van Avendonk and Madnani, GeoPRISMS Newsletter, Issue No. 28, Spring 2012.

Eastern North America (ENAM) was chosen as a GeoPRISMS Rift Initiation and Evolution primary site because it represents a mature rifted continental margin in which the entire record of continental break-up and rifting is preserved. The rifting history along ENAM is well recorded in basin stratigraphy and the underlying crustal structure, although subsidence, sediment transport and fluid flow are presently the dominant geological processes along the margin. The study of old rifted margins is often challenged by a thick cover of sediments, which masks much of the deep crustal structure. This is also true for ENAM; however, over the next few years, unprecedented opportunities exist to carry out focused geophysical studies, revealing both shallow and deep structures of ENAM in greater detail.