2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


SNYDER, Walter S., Department of Geosciences, Boise State Univ, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725, KELLER, G. Randy, Department of Geological Sciences, Univ of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, KLUTH, Charles, Colorado School of Mines, Goldern, CO and SOREGHAN, Gerilyn S., School of Geology & Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, 100 East Boyd Steet, Norman, OK 73019, wsnyder@boisestate.edu

Understanding the dynamics of continental intraplate evolution and the processes that drive that evolution requires that we have a clear picture of the present lithospheric structure and an equally clear understanding of what happened to that continent over the last 4 billion years, and where, how, and why it happened. All of these considerations focus on understanding the full breadth of surface, crustal, lithospheric and mantle processes that play a role in this evolution and require a highly integrated approach if understanding is to be achieved. An emerging and growing community of geoscientists is investigating the upper Paleozoic history of Western Pangaea as a key natural laboratory to understand these crustal processes (www.west-pangaea.org). This interdisciplinary group is focused on the upper crust, building on the promise of EarthScope to provide a clear picture of the deeper lithosphere. The existing data on the deep structure of some of the uplifts and basins show that the scale of these features is very large compared to other examples of intraplate deformation around the world. The upper crust is particularly important because there we have an accessible, and rich record of these Earth processes. These records lie in the intraplate uplifts and basins, their structure, igneous and metamorphic history, in the stratigraphic succession with its record of tectonism and eustasy, and in the processes of life evolution, origination, radiation, migration and diversity. The records of Earth's past climates are recorded in these stratigraphic successions, and these records reflect the climatic extremes we might be facing in the near future. These intraplate regions are a rich, but understudied, natural laboratory for the analysis of Earth processes. A key consideration is that industry and academia share many common interests in this region and this group includes an emerging partnership between industry and academic researchers. As the western Pangaea group grows and begins to increase its rate of progress, there is a critical need to provide a geoinformatics system that is capable of capturing the full breadth of information that has been and will be produced by this research.