2017 GeoPRISMS Theoretical and Experimental Institute on Rift Initiation and Evolution

 icon-map-marker Hotel Albuquerque, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Alvarado Ballroom D
 icon-calendar February 8-10, 2017
Questions should be directed to the GeoPRISMS Office at info at geoprisms.org

Rifting Initiation & Evolution TEI Final Report Now Available

The GeoPRISMS Theoretical and Experimental Institute (TEI) for the Rift Initiation and Evolution (RIE) initiative was held February 8-10, 2017 in Albuquerque, NM. This meeting brought together 132 scientists with diverse expertise working on rifts and rifted margins around the world to discuss recent scientific advances, emerging questions, and to identify potential high-priority science for future GeoPRISMS RIE efforts. The meeting included a series of oral and poster presentations, pop ups and discussions. The workshop conveners have prepared a report that summarizes science results and future directions discussed at the workshop.

> Read the final report

AnnouncementPresentation archiveStudent & Postdoc SymposiumSaturday Field TripReimbursementMore info

The Theoretical and Experimental Institute (TEI) for the Rift Initiation and Evolution (RIE) initiative is now open for applications. The TEI will be held over three full days from February 8-10, 2017 and is intended to summarize progress and recent scientific advances related to the RIE initiative, and to identify high-priority science for future GeoPRISMS RIE efforts. (Please see the Science and Implementation Plan). Applicants do not need to have worked on projects funded by GeoPRISMS. We expect a broad and diverse audience drawn from domestic and international research communities, including graduate students and early career scientists, who are interested in the initiation and evolution of rifts.


The TEI is funded by the National Science Foundation through the GeoPRISMS Office at The Pennsylvania State University. There is no registration fee. We will be able to cover most on-site expenses (venue costs, hotel expenses based on double occupancy, and breakfast & lunch) for approximately 80 participants. Most participants will have to cover their travel to and from the meeting; partial funding for travel is available for students and postdocs. We will not be able to provide dinners on-site, but there are several restaurants nearby. Confirmed participants whose on-site expenses are covered are expected to arrive on Tuesday evening and leave on Saturday morning.

Organizing Committee

Tobias Fischer (University of New Mexico)
Donna Shillington (LDEO/Columbia University)
Estella Atekwana (Oklahoma State University)
Rebecca Bendick (University of Montana)
Juliet Biggs (University of Bristol)
Esteban Gazel (Virginia Tech)
Liz Hajek (Pennsylvania State University)
Luc Lavier (University of Texas, Austin)

Ex officio: Demian Saffer (GeoPRISMS Office/Pennsylvania State University)

Important Dates

October 4: Applications are opened
November 21: Application deadline
December 9: Successful applicants are invited to confirm participation
December 22: Deadline for confirmation of attendance
Late January: Final meeting agenda is released

last update 02/06/2017

Feb 7 – Student and Postdoc Symposium

(Alvarado Ballroom A+B)

1:00: Welcome & overview of GeoPRISMS and NSF – Demian Saffer (PSU) and Jennifer Wade (NSF)
1:30: Overview of RIE science questions – James Muirhead (Syracuse) and Yelebe Birhanu (Bristol)
2:00: 1 min, 1 slide pop ups on research related to RIE (part 1)
2:30: Career opportunities panel
3:00: Coffee break
3:15: 1 min, 1 slide pop ups on research related to RIE (part 2)
3:45: Group discussion
5:00: Concluding remarks
5:00-7:00: Ice breaker and student & postdoc posters

Feb 8 – Day 1

7:00 Breakfast (Franciscan Ballroom)

8:00 Welcome from GeoPRISMS Office & NSF | Demian Saffer and Jennifer Wade (Alvarado Ballrooms D & E)

8:15 Introduction to the RIE TEI | Tobias Fischer (UNM) and Donna Shillington (LDEO)

8:30 Session 1 | Rift evolution from initiation to post rift architecture

  • A brief history of ideas about rifting and the controversial role of magma in rift initiation | Roger Buck (LDEO) – Keynote (20 min)
  • Controls on continental rifting processes from geophysical observations at mature margins | Harm Van Avendonk (UTIG) – Keynote (20 min)
  • The interplay between morphodynamics and substrate fluid flow– An examination of active processes along passive margins | Danny Brothers (USGS) – Keynote (20 min)
  • Panel discussion with moderator – 30 min

10:00 Break

10:30 Session 2 | Geodynamics

  • Geodynamic models of rifting | Jolante Van Wijk (New Mexico Tech) – Keynote (20 min)
  • The Woodlark Rift: a case study in young continental breakup | Zach Eilon (Brown) – 15 min
  • Mineral-scale constraints on the geodynamics of rifting | Andrew Smye (Penn State) – 15 min
  • Results of a high resolution heat flow survey across the Wagner Basin, Gulf of California | Robert Harris (Oregon State U) – 15 min
  • Seismic anisotropy across the Eastern North American Margin (ENAM) | Colton Lynner (U. Arizona) – 15 min
  • Panel discussion – 20 min

12:10 Lunch (Franciscan)

1:10 Report from Student Symposium and Break out 1 intro (Alvarado Ballroom D & E)

1:30 Break out 1 | Science gaps and priorities (Alvarado Ballrooms A, B, F, D & E, view the break out groups assignment)

2:30 Break

3:00 Session 3 | Magmatism, volcanism and volatile exchanges (Alvarado Ballrooms D & E)

4:30 Pop Up #1 (give 1 min summaries of posters)

James Conder | Popup
Luel Emishaw | Popup
John Greene | Popup

5:00 – Poster/cash bar & Posters

John Greene | Poster
Erin Heilman | Poster
Lisa Lamb | Poster
Madison Myers | Poster

Dinner on your own

Feb 9 – Day 2

7:30 Breakfast (Franciscan)

8:30 Session 4 | Faulting and Strain (Alvarado Ballrooms D & E)

10:10 Break

10:40 Poster pop ups #2

11:10 Breakout reports & discussion

12:00 Lunch (Franciscan)

1:00 Session 5 | Surface processes and feedbacks with lithospheric processes

  • Lost in translation: Defining thresholds for signal storage in landscapes and stratigraphy | Kyle Straub (Tulane) – Keynote 20 min
  • The role of surface processes in stabilizing half-graben structures | Jean-Arthur Olive (LDEO) – 15 min
  • Stratigraphic record of rift development at the Ledi-Geraru paleontological site, Afar, Ethiopia | Erin DiMaggio (Penn State) – 15 min
  • The effects of rapid sedimentation upon continental breakup: Seismic imaging and thermal modeling of the Salton Trough, Southern California | Liang Han (UTIG) – 15 mins
  • Rift tectonics and sedimentation: Insights from an onshore-offshore synthesis of the Corinth Rift, Greece | Rob Gawthorpe (Bergen / CSM) – 15 min
  • Panel discussion – 20 min

2:40 Break

3:00 Poster session

5:00 cash bar

7:00 Conference Dinner (Alvarado Ballroom E)

8:00 – 8:30 Overview of the Rio Grande Rift (Karl Karlstrom and Laura Crossey, UNM, Alvarado Ballroom E)

Feb 10 – Day 3

7:30 Breakfast (Tablao)

8:30 Session 6 | Hazards at rifts and rifted margins (Alvarado Ballroom D & E)

10:00 Break

10:30 Session 7 | Collaborative opportunities

  • Rift Volcanism: Past, Present and Future | Juliet Biggs (University of Bristol)
  • Wide rifting: From tectonics through surface processes, surface and groundwater hydrology to endemic spring biota | Gary Axen (New Mexico Tech)
  • EarthScope updates | Donna Shillington (LDEO)
  • Africa Array updates | Andrew Nyblade (Penn State)

12:00 Lunch (Alvarado Ballrooms B & C)

1:00 Intro to Breakout 2

1:30 Breakout 2 | High priority data gaps / work needed to address science questions (Alvarado Ballrooms B, C, F, D & E)

2:30 Break

3:00 Short reports of breakout (1 slide one most exciting thing discussed) / Plenary Discussion

5:00 Concluding remarks – Tobias Fischer (UNM) and Donna Shillington (LDEO)

5:30 Meeting adjourns

Feb 11 – Field Trip

8:00 am Breakfast (Fireplace)

9:00 am Board the bus in front of the hotel with your box lunch.

~4:30 pm arrive at hotel.

Upload your pop-up slides before Friday February 3!

 icon-chevron-right Link to Dropbox folder

On Tuesday before the TEI we will hold a student and postdoc symposium which will feature short presentations by attendees and discussion with the conveners and NSF program managers. The symposium runs from 1:00 – 5:00 and will be followed at 5:00 – 7:00 by student posters and cash bar. We encourage all students and postdocs to attend and to arrange their travel accordingly, after confirmation of attendance.

1:00: Welcome & overview of GeoPRISMS and NSF – Demian Saffer (PSU) and Jennifer Wade (NSF)
1:30: Overview of RIE science questions – James Muirhead (Syracuse) and Yelebe Birhanu (Bristol)
2:00: 1 min, 1 slide pop ups on research related to RIE (part 1)
2:30: Career opportunities panel
3:00: Coffee break
3:15: 1 min, 1 slide pop ups on research related to RIE (part 2)
3:45: Group discussion
5:00: Concluding remarks
5:00-7:00: Ice breaker and student & postdoc posters

Field trip info (PDF)

Waiver form (PDF)

Field guide (PDF)

Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, NM. credit: Bureau of Land Management

We will organize an optional field trip to the nearby (~1 hour drive from Albuquerque) Kasha-Katuwe National Monument in the Jemez Volcanic field to look at pyroclastic volcanic deposits and get an overview of the Rio Grande Rift. This trip will involve some light hiking.

Departure: 9:00 am in front of the hotel main entrance.
Return: ~4:30 pm to the hotel

If the conditions allow we will go to Kasha Katuwe (Tent Rocks). If there is too much snow, we will go to an alternative location at lower elevation. The elevation at Kasha Katuwe ranges from 5,500 to 6,700 feet and we will hike to 6,700. It is a nice hike with a great view from the top. We will be in a national monument, so no hammering on rocks or collecting of materials. It can be cold and windy and it can also be very sunny so be prepared for changing weather conditions and wear some layers.

1) Fill out your field trip waiver form and bring it to the field trip
2) To Bring

– Food: lunch boxes will be provided prior to departure. Pick one up before you get on the bus.
– Water: 2 liters of water. Bring your water bottles and fill them before departure or buy water before.
– Hiking boots and socks. Light hiking boots preferably with ankle protection
– Backpack to carry your belongings
– Sunscreen
– Sun-hat and warm hat
– Warm jacket

Non employee form (PDF)

Non employee travel reimbursement form (PDF)

General Instructions

Address questions and submit required travel forms and reimbursement documents (using regular mail, email or fax) to the GeoPRISMS Admin Coordinator Jo Ann Lehithet.

The Department of Geosciences
503 Deike Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Attn: Jo Ann Lehtihet

Email: jxl902@psu.edu
Tel: 814-867-4760
Fax: 814-867-2378

All persons attending the TEI RIE whose travel is fully or partially funded by GeoPRISMS must complete the Non-Employee Information Form. To do so,

  1. Complete Section I.
  2. Complete Section II. If you are a United States Citizen or Permanent Resident, you do not need to complete Section III. If you are a Resident for Tax Purposes or a Non-Resident for Tax Purposes, you need to complete Section III and attach your Admission Stamp or I-94 Card to the form.
  3. Residents for Tax Purposes and Non-Residents for Tax Purposes must complete Section III.
  4. Skip Section IV.
  5. Sign and date at the bottom of the form.

Attendees asked to make their airline reservations through the Penn State Travel Agency (Centre for Travel) need only to submit the Non-Employee Information Form (and, if applicable, the Admission Stamp/I-94).

Persons attending the TEI RIE asked to make their own travel arrangements and are requesting travel reimbursement (not to exceed a limit specified in their invitation letter) for the out-of-pocket expense are required to complete both the Non-Employee Travel Reimbursement Form and the Non-Employee Information Form. You must attach backup travel expense documentation to the Non-Employee Travel Reimbursement Form as part of the submission package. To complete the Non-Employee Travel Reimbursement Form:

  1. Enter personal information in the top left-hand corner of the form. ((Note: The address entered should be the same as that listed in the Non-Employee Information Form; this is the address where the reimbursement check is sent.) For Business Purpose, enter “GeoPRISMS TEI RIE Conference, February 2017, Albuquerque, NM.”
  2. Check the appropriate Residency Status box in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. In the Departure/Arrival Section, list round-trip information on departing and arrival locations/dates/times; do not list all intermediate stops.
  4. In the Expense Type Section, enter the total amount in the category reflected in the backup documentation you are submitting.
  5. Skip the section on Daily Meal Per Diem.
  6. Skip the bottom section designated as For Office Use Only.
  7. Sign and date the form.

Specific Guidelines for Backup Travel Documentation

If you traveled by plane: submit a printout, with your name, showing flight itinerary and total costs.

If you traveled by bus or train: submit a receipt showing start point and destination with total cost.

If you used a rental vehicle: submit the vehicle rental contract documenting check-out and check-in dates as well as total cost; for fuel expenses, submit fuel receipts.

If you used a personal vehicle: Submit a MapQuest (or equivalent on-line service) printout showing total mileage between start-point and destination. Mileage allowances cover all operating costs, including repairs, insurance, fuel, depreciation, towing and other auto-related expenses.

Poster information

Posters boards are landscape 90″x 44″ (228 cm x 111 cm). Pushpins will be provided.


The Hotel Albuquerque in Albuquerque, NM. The hotel is located 8 miles from Albuquerque airport.

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town – Albuquerque, New Mexico
800 Rio Grande Blvd. NW | Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104
phone: 505.843.6300

Cab service is available. There is no shuttle service from/to the airport.

Albuquerque Cab: 505-883-4888. Yellow Cab: 505-247-8888. Average rate is around $30 one way.

Helpful links