MARGINS Workshop Proposal Examples

The most efficient way for MARGINS to be converted into a program (rather than simply a collection of funded proposals) is by the sharing of results and technology across the four intitatives via workshops, theoretical institutes, AGU & GSA special sessions and town meetings.

In order to encourage these activities, the MARGINS Office is making a number of successful workshop and theoretical institute proposals available to the community, to be used as a guide or template for subsequent proposals. The proposal abstracts on this page summarize the objectives and expectations for the various workshops and theoretical institutes, and below each abstract are links to the full proposal texts as PDF files.

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MARGINS Theoretical and Experimental Institute:
Rheology and Deformation of the Lithosphere
at Continental Margins

Held in Snowbird, UT, January 23-26, 2000

Convened by Garry Karner and David Kohlstedt
Written by Garry Karner, David Kohlstedt, Neal Driscoll, and Brian Taylor

Continental margins are the earth's principle locus for valuable resources, severe geologic and climatic hazards, and the greatest population density. Despite the societal and economic importance of margins, many of the mechanical, fluid, chemical and biological processes that shape and destroy continental margins are poorly understood. Progress is hindered by the sheer scope of the problems, the complex interplay and feedback mechanisms between disparate processes, and by the spatial-temporal scale of the processes. To overcome these obstacles, the MARGINS Program (a research initiative supported by the US National Science Foundation) has re-assessed the outstanding scientific problems in continental margins research and is promoting research strategies that redirect traditional approaches to margin studies. The MARGINS Program seeks to understand the complex interplay of processes that govern continental margin evolution. The objective is to develop a self-consistent understanding of the processes that are fundamental to margin formation and evolution. The MARGINS approach involves concentration on several study areas targeted for intense, multidisciplinary programs of research in which an ongoing dialogue among field experiment, numerical simulation and laboratory analysis, researchers is axiomatic. The plan is to investigate active systems as a whole, viewing a margin not so much as a "geological" entity of divergent, translational or convergent type, but more in terms of a complex physical, chemical and biological system, subject to a variety of influences. The processes that fundamentally govern the evolution of margins include lithospheric deformation, magmatism and mass fluxes, sedimentation, and fluid flow. The goal of the MARGINS Program is to provide a focus for the coordinated, interdisciplinary investigation of these processes. One approach that has been adopted by MARGINS to promote progress toward this goal is the organization of Theoretical and Experimental Institutes. Theoretical Institutes were originally conceived by the Ridge Program and have proven successful in fostering stronger links between observationalists, experimentalists, and theoreticians, and in giving researchers and their students the required background to address complex, interdisciplinary problems. These type of Institutes will bring together specialists from a broad range of backgrounds to present and discuss margin research and work on problems of interdisciplinary interest. Such an exchange of ideas on fundamental and current research problems across several disciplines aimed at examining a single system is not available elsewhere for continental margin studies. This proposal requests funds to hold the first MARGINS Theoretical and Experimental Institute in the winter of 2000 to investigate "Rheology and Deformation of the Lithosphere at Continental Margins", which will address aspects of objectives defined by the National Academy Workshop held at Irvine, California. It will examine how the deformation evolves throughout margin evolution, which will lead to a better understanding of the varying margin architectures observed and a framework within which laboratory, field, and modeling experiments can be posed. The bringing together of researchers and students from a number of different fields to initiate a cross-disciplinary inquiry into the rheology and deformation of the lithosphere will provide valuable insights into the system as a whole.

Full proposal text as PDF file (56 KB)

MARGINS Theoretical and Experimental Institute:
Inside the Subduction Factory

Held in Eugene, OR, August 20-25, 2000

Convened by Marc Hirschmann and Terry Plank
Written by Marc Hirschmann, Terry Plank, and Brian Taylor

Funds are requested to hold a MARGINS theoretical and experimental school where the subduction zone will be the topic of a 4-day short course followed by a 1-day workshop. The will support the emerging multi-disciplinary study of the subduction zone and focus on the geochemical and geodynamic processes at intermediate depths (50-150 km), a region where mass transfer plays a fundamental role in the evolution of subduction zones. A steering committee will select the speakers and attract participants. Funds will pay for full or partial travel of about 65 participants, although a total of 100 participants are expected.

Full proposal text as PDF file (48 KB)

MARGINS Workshop on the Rupturing of Continental Lithosphere in the Gulf of California/Salton Trough Region

Held in Perto Vallarta, Mexico, October 27-29, 2000

Convened by Joann Stock, Arturo Martín-Barajas and Michael Steckler
Written by Joann Stock, Michael Steckler, Arturo Martín-Barajas, and Garry Karner

We seek funding for a workshop of US and Mexican scientists who are interested in studying processes of RUPTURE OF THE CONTINENTAL LITHOSPHERE in the Gulf of California/Salton Trough region. The Gulf of California/Salton Trough is one of two focus sites chosen for this part of the MARGINS initiative. We propose to have a two and one-half day meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in late October, 2000. The workshop will be convened by Joann Stock, Arturo Martín-Barajas, and Michael Steckler. The goal is to familiarize scientists from each nation with what research initiatives are being undertaken, or have recently been completed, related to this topic, by groups who work in the Gulf of California area. This should facilitate the design of future proposals by teams of international collaborators who wish to join forces on the study of this topic under the MARGINS umbrella. The meeting will start with a brief review of the geology and tectonics of the Gulf of California and of the major unanswered questions about rifting processes. There will then be a series of thematic sessions in which the participants can describe, in brief, the work they have in progress, or the work they hope to accomplish related to this topic. Finally there will be a general discussion of what types of modeling experiments and field observations are necessary to really advance our understanding of the composite picture.

Full proposal text as PDF file (76 KB)

MARGINS Workshop on the Rupturing of Continental Lithosphere in the Northern and Central Red Sea/Gulf of Suez Region

Held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, March 17-23, 2001

Convened by James Cochran, Michael Steckler and William Bosworth
Written by James Cochran, Michael Steckler and Garry Karner

The rupturing of continental lithosphere to form new ocean basins is one of the fundamental processes shaping the Earth s surface with important consequences for oceanic circulation, climate and the distribution and concentration of natural resources. However, the vast majority of these studies have, of necessity, concentrated on the post-rifting development of the margin because many rifted margins are buried by many kilometers of sediment. Active rifting has primarily been studied at young continental rifts, such as the East African Rift. Invariably, the continental rifts available for study have undergone only limited extension compared with what is inferred to have occurred for the offshore extensional continental margins. Other studies have investigated relatively old and deformed rift systems, such as the exposed Tethyan rift systems of western Europe. All of these studies have contributed greatly to our understanding of the mechanics and geometry of continental rifting. However, these studies are not able to provide information on the response of the lithosphere to active extension and the manner in which the lithosphere ruptures to form a new oceanic basin. It is precisely the rupturing of the lithosphere to form a continental margin that is the main focus of the scientific objectives of the "Rupturing Continental Lithosphere (RCL)" component of the MARGINS Program. At a recent workshop, the central and northern Red Sea a recent MARGINS was chosen as one of the two Focus Sites of the MARGINS "Rupturing of Continental Lithosphere" initiative. This meeting also endorsed the concept of beginning the study of each focus area with a workshop in order to establish a common basis within the community for the development of research proposals. The purpose of this proposal is to seek funds to hold a research forum in Egypt (a 3- day workshop in Sharm el-Sheikh, Sinai and plus a 2-day field trip along the Gulf of Suez rift) to fulfill this recommendation. The prime objective of the workshop is to meet and interact with local and international researchers working in the Red Sea region in order to investigate and generate collaborative projects for future MARGINS research. The proposed workshop will provide a forum for both social and professional interaction between U.S. scientists and scientists from countries bordering the Red Sea and European researchers active in the region. The meeting will provide the scientific background necessary for US scientists to design experiments that will address the outstanding issues of RCL. We will invite scientists and science managers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Eritrea to attend the workshop. The margins of the northern and central Red Sea is in the EEZ of these countries and it will be essential for U.S. scientists working in the Red Sea to establish collaborative partnerships with scientists from these countries. Representatives of the coastal countries will discuss regulatory requirements and other practical issues related to conducting fieldwork within or in the waters of their country. The field trip provide an integral setting for informal interaction between participants while exploring the classic geology of the Gulf of Suez rift, which can hopefully lead to the development of contacts and the building of working relationships. The workshop is planned for mid-March, 2001. In this way, researchers should have sufficient time to prepare collaborative international research projects prior to the November 1, 2001 MARGINS proposal deadline. The mid-March date falls after the Islamic holiday Eid al Addha, but before Easter and Passover. If the meeting were delayed until later in the spring, the temperature becomes extremely oppressive, making the field trips difficult. It is also important to note that by scheduling the meeting in March, which is an off time for the tourist business, we have been able to negotiate a favorable rate for hotels in Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh.

Full proposal text as PDF file (600 KB)

Community Sedimentary Model Science Plan for Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

James Syvitski


We request funds to launch a project known as the "community sediment model (CSM)". Ideas behind the CSM concept were first discussed by participants of an international workshop in May of 1996 (Numerical Experiments in Stratigraphy, University of Kansas). The formal CSM idea took shape at a panel convened by the Geology/Paleontology Program of NSF in March 1999. That panel identified a Community Sedimentary Model as a high priority NSF research initiative in sedimentary geology. Since then the concept has been widely discussed in the North American sediment-dynamics community, most notably at the Source to Sink Workshops where it was concluded that a community modeling effort was essential to MARGINS objectives. The goal of CSM is to develop a suite of models for the main process sets that shape the Earths surface and create its stratigraphic record. The goal of the proposed meeting is to produce a working strategy to accomplish this. The strategic plan will be coordinated with three related projects: the NSF MARGINS Source to Sink program, the proposed ONR-EU EuroSTRATAFORM program, and the pending NSF ITR project in sediment dynamics. The meeting will comprise some 40 international leaders in morphodynamic modeling. We set an ambitious agenda for ourselves, focusing on the following tasks: (1) determine the time scales on which the CSM models will operate, and how models aimed at different time scales will be coupled; (2) map the environments and associated process sets for each time scale, and evaluate the state of knowledge for each of these; (3) decide on protocols for program architecture, languages, data structures, interfaces, and standards for process subroutines and modules; and (4) decide on the best strategy for making CSM results and computational methods available for education.

The scope of the CSM project is also ambitious. We envision a modular model architecture of easily exchangeable process-components. The process modules will be three-dimensional, with allowance for simplification to two dimensions when appropriate. They will couple suites of processes and environments to represent dispersal systems holistically. They will span time scales ranging from individual events (seconds to years) through geologic time (i.e., the life span of an orogen or sedimentary basin, tens to hundreds of millions of years). Appropriately assembled, the modules will be able to address both basic and applied problems such as risks associated with landslides and storm- and flood-related sedimentation (on the short-term end) and controls on geometry of commercial water and hydrocarbon reservoirs (on the long-term end). Nothing approaching the CSM project in scope or level of cross-disciplinary integration has ever been attempted in the sediment-dynamics community, so we will invite representatives of the climatemodeling and ocean-modeling communities, to provide logistical guidance, with there considerable experience in developing integrated models.

The meeting will last for four days and be held in Boulder, Colorado in either late August or early September. The precise time will be decided, and the meeting advertised, within a month of the project being funded by NSF. A committee consisting of the three PIs of this proposal will organize the meeting. In many respects, we will follow the very successful format of the NSF MARGINS meetings. We will invite participants to contribute their thoughts on key issues before the meeting. We will select about 10 invited speakers to address specific critical issues in developing the CSM during the first two days. We will appoint teams to work up short "white papers" on key subtopics during the second two days. Our goal will be to have a science plan addressing the four basic issues listed above by the end of 2001.

Full proposal text as PDF file (48 KB)

References as PDF file (16 KB)

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MARGINS is an NSF funded program

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Last updated Friday, July 27, 2007