CHRONOS NETWORK FOR EARTH SYSTEM HISTORY: INTEGRATED DATABASES AND TOOLKITS ACCESSIBLE THROUGH A COMMON PORTAL - WWW.CHRONOS.ORG
With a central hub coordinating a continually expanding network of individual databases and files linked by geologic time, the fast-growing, community-based CHRONOS system serves as a major portal for geological research and outreach, equipped with powerful, interactive analytical and visualization toolkits to enable the exploration and understanding of our evolving planet. With the wealth of existing Earth history data that can be integrated with state-of-the-art information technologies and advanced correlation tools, we also anticipate that the continued implementation of CHRONOS will result in an order of magnitude increase in the precision of global and regional geological time scales, e.g. through the EarthTime project (http://eaps.mit.edu/earthtime/). This alone represents a major advance in Earth system history research, and is expected to lead to new insights into the rates and magnitudes of important geological processes, many of which are relevant to understanding Earth system changes influenced by human activity. Beyond facilitating studies of scientific issues of immediate concern, the CHRONOS community is working on educational and community involvement projects by networking information and pedagogical activities on topics of general interest (e.g., evolution, extinction events) in CHRONOSLab. A partner of the GeoInformatics initiative, CHRONOS is a multi-institution project funded by the National Science Foundation fostering active international collaborations.