2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM


KELLER, G. Randy, Department of Geological Sciences/ PACES, Univ of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968 and HILDENBRAND, Thomas G., U.S. Geol Survey, U.S. Geological Survey Mail Stop 989, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, keller@geo.utep.edu

Potential field data (gravity and magnetic measurements) are both useful and cost-effective tools for many geologic investigations. Significant amounts of these data are traditionally in the public domain. A new magnetic database for North America has just been released, and a concerted effort to compile an upgraded digital gravity anomaly database, grid, and map for the United States is underway and builds on existing collaborations. This joint effort by the geophysics groups at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), U. S. Geological Survey (USGS), NIMA (National Imagery and Mapping Agency), and NOAA is an outgrowth of the EarthScope and Geoinformatics (www.geoinformaticsnetwork.org) initiatives. This effort goes well beyond the creation of a modern, high-quality database and reflects the realization by Earth scientists that existing information systems and techniques are inadequate to address the complex scientific and societal issues that we must confront. The ultimate data system envisioned would feature the database, software tools, and convenient access and will enhance the quality and quantity of data being contributed to the gravity database that will be a shared community resource. For example, the U. S. Geological Survey and UTEP are cooperating to develop a web-based toolkit that will permit access to gravity data and manipulation of the data using tools that support, for example, modeling, mapping, filtering, and construction of profiles. In addition, new algorithms are being developed to merge data sets so that duplicate and erroneous points are found easily. The goal is to produce a web-based data system that will facilitate the efforts of researchers and students who wish to collect data from regions currently not represented adequately in the database. The primary goal of upgrading the U.S. gravity database and ultimately creating a robust data system is to provide more reliable data that support societal and scientific investigations of national importance. An additional reason is the international intent to compile an enhanced North American gravity database, which will be critical in understanding regional geologic features, the tectonic evolution of the continent, and other issues that cross national boundaries.