Rocky Mountain Section - 69th Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 18-1
Presentation Time: 12:20 PM


FREYMUELLER, Jeffrey T., Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320,

The EarthScope program was initiated in 2003 with the goal of studying the structure and dynamics of the North American continent. During it’s 15 year observational program, EarthScope has deployed more than 2000 temporary seismic stations across the continental United States (with stations currently operating in Alaska), and more than 1100 high precision GPS and strain instruments (concentrated on the actively deforming western half of North America). EarthScope’s open data have been used by thousands of researchers across the world. EarthScope also includes a grants program within the National Science Foundation, which aims to support integrative science using the EarthScope facilities, and a National Office that carries out education, outreach and community engagement activities.

EarthScope has enabled a large number of studies, some on topics that were expected and many that were unexpected. EarthScope has provided new and higher resolution seismic images of the lithospheric and mantle structure for North America, along with unprecedented maps of deformation and strain. EarthScope data have revealed that the structure at the bottom of the North American plate is complex even in some places where the topography at the top is flat. EarthScope data were critical in some of the early studies that tied the increase in mid-continent earthquakes to wastewater disposal. EarthScope data have provided new constraints on soil moisture, snow depth and other kinds of environmental sensing, and have imaged large-scale water mass/water resource variations such as the recent drought in the western United States.

EarthScope has already helped inspire other integrative efforts in other parts of the world, such as the European Plate Observing System (EPOS) and the SinoProbe/SinoProbe II projects in China. The powerful combination of seismic imaging and high precision geodetic data is an excellent tool for studying actively deforming regions, such as the Canadian Cordillera.