GeoPRISMS: From the MARGINS Steering Committee

Released May 21, 2010

The MARGINS Steering Committee is pleased to report that NSF has decided to continue margins-related research as envisaged in the new GeoPRISMS Draft Science Plan ( The letter from NSF announcing this decision is available on the MARGINS web page ( ). It describes several important steps to full implementation, addressed here. The letter also confirms that there will be a July 1, 2010 proposal submission date and outlines the types of proposals sought in this transitional year; we urge those who are interested to read the letter.

We welcome NSF’s decision to move forward with a GeoPRISMS program as outlined by the Draft Science Plan, and thank the many members of the community who contributed to the plan's development. At the same time, we recognize that many challenges remain to fully implement the Science Plan, and outline the steps we plan to take.

1. Over the course of the next several months, the MARGINS Steering Committee will transform into the GeoPRISMS Steering and Oversight Committee (GSOC). Around October 1, the chairmanship will pass to Julia Morgan allowing the MARGINS Office to move from Lamont-Doherty to Rice University. Also, about half the committee rotates in 2010, and the makeup of the GSOC will change to more completely reflect the new science emphases. We will continue a separate GeoPRISMS Education Advisory Committee, and will explore other ways to strengthen links to other programs, industry and other partner organizations.

2. Two Initiative Implementation Workshops are being planned to complete the science plans for the two GeoPRISMS initiatives: Rift Initiation and Evolution (RIE) and Subduction Cycles and Deformation (SCD). The organizing committees and venues are being assembled now, and more complete announcements will be made shortly, but we are tentatively scheduling the workshops as follows:

RIE – Rift Initiation and Evolution: November 4-5, 2010
SCD – Subduction Cycles and Deformation: First week in January, 2011


These workshops will produce Implementation Plans for the two initiatives; objectives will include:

  • Refine the initiative themes and key unanswered questions
  • Resolve which themes and questions require Primary focus sites to answer
  • Prioritize the scientific objectives, themes, and questions
  • Identify, justify, and select 1-2 Primary Sites per initiative
  • Finalize plans for ramping down work at existing MARGINS Focus Sites
  • Identify international and national collaborative agencies and industry partners
  • Outline research approaches and timetables for each theme and focus site
  • Elucidate multiple funding strategies for implementing the Science Plan
  • Identify and charge the final Science Plan writing team

3. It is expected that several ongoing components of the program will continue, including the Distinguished Lecture Program, other education programs, web pages, newsletters, and thematic scientific meetings. Stay tuned to the MARGINS listserv and web page for announcements regarding all of these programs.

4. As described in the letter from the NSF Program Manager, this year (2010) will see a regular proposal submission date of July 1, with a somewhat different, transitional emphasis than in years past. We encourage individuals and groups to take advantage of this opportunity, and continue to submit high-quality proposals. Again, for details, see:


Direct inquiries to the MARGINS Office

MARGINS is an NSF funded program

The MARGINS Office is Hosted by Columbia University

Last updated Friday, May 21, 2010