MARGINS News Archive 2005













December 2005

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November 2005

November 10, 2005: AGU Congressional Science Fellowship

Consider using your scientific expertise to help create sound public policy by working in the U.S. Congress. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2006-2007 AGU Congressional Science Fellowship. The Fellowship provides an opportunity to play an active part in the U.S. policy process by spending a year (September through August) on the staff of a congressional committee or on the staff of a House or Senate member, advising on a wide range of scientific issues as they pertain to public policy.

All members of AGU who are citizens or permanent residents of teh United States are invited to apply. Candidates must be members of or applying for membership in AGU. For further details and application instructions, visit the AGU web site: or contact Catherine O'Riordan at +1-202-777-7501 or e-mail

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October 2005

October 2005: Special Anatahan Issue of the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

The 2003 Eruption of Anatahan Volcano, Commonweath of the Northern Mariana Islands, Volume 146, Issues 1-3, Pages 1-256 (15 August 2005) Edited by D.R. Hilton, J.S. Pallister and R.M. Pua

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September 2005

September 28-29, 2005: College of Charleston to Host Real-Time Broadcast of Underwater Volcanoes of the Northeast Pacific

Visions '05: University of Washington/NEPTUNE Program Expedition to the Underwater: Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 28, 29), 5 – 6 pm

VISIONS '05 will feature the first real-time broadcast of high-definition video from the seafloor. During this 34-day research cruise, scientists aboard the University of Washington's Research Vessel Thomas G. Thompson will use underwater robots and high-definition video cameras to explore, sample, monitor, and map one of the most extreme environments on Earth. NOAA Coastal Services Center (Charleston, SC) was instrumental in assisting with the acquisition of the HD camera. You are invited to join Project Oceania at the College of Charleston on Wednesday, September 28 from 5-6 pm in Physician's Auditorium and on Thursday, September 29 from 5-6 pm in Education Center room 118 (limited seating is available) to see oceanographic history in the making.

Visit the VISIONS '05 web site for information, photographs and graphic images, video clips, and daily logs from scientists at sea.

You may be able to view the broadcast on your own computer at:

• September 9, 2005: East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students

The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) provide U.S. graduate students in science and   engineering 1) first-hand research experience in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, or Taiwan; 2) an introduction to the science and science policy infrastructure of the respective location; and 3) orientation to the society, culture and language. The primary goals of EAPSI are to introduce students to East Asia and Pacific science and engineering in the context of a research laboratory, and to initiate personal relationships that will better enable them to collaborate with foreign counterparts in the future. The institutes last approximately eight weeks from June to August. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) co-sponsor the   Summer Institute in Japan.

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August 2005


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July 2005

July 15, 2005: AGU Fall Meeting Call for Abstracts

AGU would like you to consider submitting an abstract to one of the many Education-themed sessions at the 2005 Fall Neetubg (5-9 December 2005; San Francisco). Complete session descriptions and abstract submission information can be obtained at Online abstract submissions will be accepted starting July 26; abstract submission deadline is September 8. Information about other education and outreach programs being held during the meeting can be found at

• July 15, 2005: Opportunities for education and educators:

  • 2005 Coalition for Earth Science Education Meeting, 23-24 September 2005, Goddard Space Flight Center; Greenbelt, Maryland; Registration Deadline: 9 September
  • The American Geological Institute (AGI) announces the theme for Earth Science Week 2005: “Geoscientists Explore the Earth.” To learn more about the 8th ESW visit
  • Building Community: The Emerging EPO Profession, 14-16 September 2005, Doubletree Hotel at Reid Park, Tuscon, Arizona For more information and to register see
  • Adopt A Scientist Pilot E-mentoring Program: This pilot e-mentoring program is being developed at the American Institute of Physics. High school physics students will conduct email interviews with scientists to gain an understanding of the opportunities available through science. For more details on the project, contact AIP by telephone at (301) 209-3690 or by email at

• July 15, 2005: Expedition to the Izu Islands, Japan

Follow a team of volcanologists and geochemists sponsored by the NSF-MARGINS program on an expedition to the Izu Islands of Japan. The research team includes David Hilton of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Tobias Fischer of the university of New Mexico, and Alison Shaw of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. They will be sampling volcanic gases, lavas and tephra. The team will start out on July 18 with the first of 3 trips: 2 to the Izu Islands and 1 to on-land volcanoes. They will be transmitting logs, photos and movies to a daily web journal ( The expedition ends on August 9.

• July 12, 2005: Water makes Arenal explosive

An article published in the Costa Rican National Newspaper, 'La Nación' (, features MARGINS Program research undertaken by scientists from Boston University and Rutgers in collaboration with Costa Rican geologists. Studies involving Jennifer Wade (BU) and Louise Bolge (Rutgers), both recipients of honorable mentions in the 2004 MARGINS AGU Student Prize, concluded that water, and not just SiO2, is a determining factor in a volcano's explosiveness. [PDF of translation]

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June 2005

June 29, 2005: Tonga subduction zone structure and discontinuities

Two arrays of twelve broadband seismographs, part of the Seismic Arrays in Fiji and Tonga (SAFT) experiment, were analyzed for discontinuities in the Tonga subduction zone. The analysis, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Detailed structure and sharpness of upper mantle discontinuities in the Tonga subduction zone from regional broadband arrays , Rigobert Tibi and Douglas A. Wiens, Journal of Geophysical Research , Vol. 110, B06313, doi: 10.1029/2004JB003433, 2005), suggests that the subduction process does not dramatically affect the sharpness of the discontinuities.

• June 22, 2005: Anatahan Update

The Anatahan Volcano north of Saipan began rumbling anew on June 11, 2005, emitting steam and eventually spewing ash as high as 50,000 feet into the air ( Participants in MARGINS have been following the site since May 2003, and updates on the latest MARGINS event response to Anatahan Volcano can be found in MARGINS Newsletter No. 14, Spring 2005 . This latest volcanic activity, adds impetus to locals along with the USGS who are pushing for a volcano warning system to protect both aviation and ground safety. More information about the proposed warning system, which includes a greatly expanded Marianas seismic monitoring network, can be found in the Saipan Tribune ( 12:00:00 AM).

• June 21, 2005: Initiation of plate boundary slip in the Nankai Trough

In an article in Geophysical Research Letters , researchers describe use of a neural network analysis of seismic attributes derived from 3D seismic reflection data gathered in the Nankai Trough to produce a detailed geologic map of the décollement at the base of the accretionary prism. Data suggests that changes in the physical properties of the décollement and the structure of the accretionary prism are related to the initiation of slip (Initiation of plate boundary slip in the Nankai Trough off the Muroto peninsula, southwest Japan , Takeshi Tsuji, et al., Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 32, L12306, doi: 10.1029/2005GL021861, 2005).

• June 10, 2005: Surface gases found in deep-mantle volcanic rock

Researchers collected samples from volcanoes at several subduction zones around the world to determine whether recycled surface rock could cause variation in the composition of the Earth's mantle (Nitrogen isotopes of the mantle: Insights from mineral separates , Tobias P. Fishcer, et al., Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 32, L11305, doi: 10.1029/2005GL022792, 2005). They analyzed the samples for nitrogen isotope ratios and, based on their results, argue that surface rock has been recycled deep into the mantle.

• June 10, 2005: Morphodynamic modeling of compound-clinoform development

In a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Fluvial and marine controls on combined subaerial and subaqueous delta progradation: Morphodynamic modeling of compound-clinoform development, Swenson, et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 110, F02013, doi: 10.1029/2004JF000265, 2005) researchers present a numerical model of fluviodeltaic sediment buildup in which terrestrial floods and coastal storms drive the movement of sediment. This model, which couples subaerial and subaqueous processes, may explain many features of natural delta systems by emphasizing the coupling of fluvial and shallow marine sediment dynamics.

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May 2005

May 21, 2005: Earthquake causes distant tremors off Japan coast

The Tokachi-oki earthquake that occurred off the coast of the Japanese island of Hokkaido on 25 September 2003 resulted in small tremors near the Nankai subduction zone, about 1400 km away. Using recordings from the new Japanese network of over 690 underground sensing stations, Japanese researchers looked for these distant tremors and their cause. The authors suggest that waves traveling across the planet's surface may change the flow of underground water and hence trigger deep earth tremors far from the epicenter of the original quake, such as those in Nankai (Detection of triggered deep low-frequency events from the 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake, Masatoshi Miyazawa and Jim Mori, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/2005GL022539, 2005).

• May 14, 2005: Complex deformation in the Izu-Bonin subduction zone

Anisotropy in the velocity of earthquake shear waves through the mantle can be detected using seismic shear wave splitting techniques. MARGINS-funded analysis of seismic records from the Izu-Bonin subduction zone has allowed Karen Anglin and Matthew J. Fouch of Arizona State University to investigate processes within the subduction zone (Seismic anisotropy in the Izu-Bonin subduction system, D.K. Anglin and M.J. Fouch, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, L09307, doi: 10.1029/2005GL022714, 2005). Their analysis suggests that Pacific plate mantle material is moving parallel or sub-parallel to the line of convergence, and hence is partially or completely detached from the downgoing slab. If accurate, this observation could have significant effect on dynamic subduction system models.

• May 7, 2005: Thermal history of subducting crust in Nankai Trough

Thermal history scenarios based on ODP Site 1173 sediment data suggest anomalously high heat flow in crust entering the Nankai Trough subduction zone during the last 5 Ma (Modeling thermal history of subducting crust in Nankai Trough: Constraints from in situ sediment temperature and diagenetic reaction progress, G. A. Spinelli and M. B. Underwood, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 32, L09301, doi: 10.1029/2005GL022793, 2005). Possible contributors to the anomalous heat flux include off-axis volcanism and hydrothermal circuiation.

• May 3, 2005: Izu-Bonin-Marianas news

  • Northern Marianas volcanoes need ground-based monitoring: A recent USGS report rates four volcanoes within the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) as high threat, and a further four as a moderate threat. These classifications merit dense seismic monitoring networks for each volcano. However, only one of the eight (Anatahan - see April 1-7 news) has any ground-based monitoring. While the Commonwealth are assembling a volcanic ash response plan for the CNMI, the USGS argue that monitoring improvement should be a high priority for the U.S. federal government. Northern Marianas volcanic ash is a threat to commercial aircraft, of which around 25,000 pass through CNMI airspace annually. Article: Saipan Tribune, Volcanic ash response plan in the works. See also, AP report, Report urges increased volcano monitoring, April 29. 2005
  • U.S. military plans to use Anatahan for non-explosive bombing exercises: The U.S. Department of Defense and the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands are considering the feasability of using the Anatahan and Sariguan islands for non-explosive bombing exercises. These uninhabited locations are favored because such exercises are not allowed within a 25-mile radius of civilian activity. However, even when no training is in progress, a 10 mile radius would stand, presenting a potential problem for scientists studying the islands. Article: Saipan Tribune, One more NMI islands [sic] eyed for military use

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April 2005

April 27, 2005: Ireland joins IODP

• April 19, 2005: Resolution of historical Nankai Trough tsunamigenic rupture zones

A new method of inverting tsunami waveforms (Contiguous rupture areas of two Nankai Trough earthquakes revealed by high-resolution tsunami waveform inversion, Toshitaka Baba and Phil R. Cummins, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 32, L08305, doi: 10.1029/2004GL022320, 2005) reveals that the adjacent rupture areas of the 1944 and 1946 tsunamigenic Nankai Trough earthquakes are separated by an apparent sharp boundary. The authors suggest that this boundary signifies a physical barrier to rupture between the two areas in which slip exceeded 1 m.

• April 7, 2005: Geochemistry of serpentinized peridotites from the Mariana Forearc Conical Seamount

A paper in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (Geochemistry of serpentinized peridotites from the Mariana Forearc Conical Seamount, ODP Leg 125: Implications for the elemental recycling at subduction zones, Savov et al., Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, Vol. 6, Q04J15, doi: 10.1029/2004GC000777, 2005), details the geochemisty of serpentinized peridotites from an active serpentinite mud seamount drilled by ODP Leg 125. Serpentinite mud volcanism allows study of the products of shallow exchanges between the upper mantle and slab-derived fluids. Taken in relation to arc inputs and other outputs from the arc, element enrichments in the seamount samples indicate slab fluid composition changes with depth.

• April 1-7, 2005: Izu-Bonin-Marianas: Anatahan volcano activity, March-April 2005

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March 2005

March 31, 2005: Book: Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis, Volume 1.

Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis by Maxx Dilley, Robert S. Chen, Uwe Deichmann, Arthur L. Lerner-Lam and Margaret Arnold, summarizes natural hazard risk levels at global natural disaster "hotspots". The analysis for each location, based on earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, drought, and cyclones, is combined with population distribution, economic output, and past disaster losses in order to establish regions at highest risk from natural disasters. Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis is published by The World Bank Group:, ISBN: 0-8213-5930-4, 145pp, $20.

• March 23, 2005: Search for new NSF-OCE Division Director continues

The National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences is continuing its efforts to recruit a new Division Director. In a Dear Colleague Letter the Directorate for Geosciences requests assistance from the scientific community in identifying suitable candidates.

• March 23, 2005: 2005 EarthScope Program Solicitation released

• March 8, 2005: Nucleation of oceanic spreading within the Northern Red Sea continental rift

A paper by James Cochran of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, details results and interpretation from a new compilation of marine geophysical data describing nucleation of the northern Red Sea oceanic spreading center (Northern Red Sea: Nucleation of an oceanic spreading center within a continental rift, J. Cochran, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, Vol. 6, Q03006, doi: 10.1029/2004GC0008266, 2005).

• March 5, 2005: Bank failures and fluvial erosion in gully development

A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Colorado, Boulder, tested an explicit physically based theory for the stability of gully heads and walls (Implications for bank failures and fluvial erosion for gully development: Field observations and modeling, Istanbulluoglu et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 110, doi: 10.1029/2004JF000145, 2005>). Their model - tested against field- and published- data - allows three dimensional study of the effects of soil cohesion, erosion thresholds, and stochastic climate on the rate and morphology of gully development. The authors present predictions of gully evolution under different climate, morphology, and soil conditions.

• March 4, 2005: Natural versus antropogenic erosion

In a Geology paper, Bruce Wilkinson of the University of Michigan finds that at the current rate, human activity averaged over Earth's surface would erode about 360 meters per million years. That's 15 times the background natural rate based on an estimated total volume of sedimentary rock accumulated over the past 500 million years, even when corrected for recycling of sedimentary material. Paper: Humans as geologic agents: A deep-time perspective, Wilkinson, Geology, Vol. 33, 3, pp. 161-164, doi: 10.1130/G21108.1, 2005.

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February 2005

February 24, 2005: Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics

The Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) is a new NSF initiative for developing models and modeling tools for solid-earth science. As an example with relevance to the MARGINS program, it is hoped that CIG will provide a powerful toolkit to develop 3-D models of specific subduction zones. The intiative is currently recruiting staff and preparing for a series of summer workshops. Interested parties can sign up for updates through the web site:

• February 24, 2005: Mode selection during lithospheric extension

A Journal of Geophysical Research paper (Effect of plastic-viscous layering and strain softening on mode selection during lithospheric extension, Huismans et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 110, doi: 10.1029/2004JB003114, 2005) describes analytical and numerical models attributing preferential selection of deformation modes during extension to plastic-viscous layering and strain softening. Following the principle of minimum expenditure of energy, the authors find that common extensional models (pure shear, symmetric plug, assymetric plug and multiple plug) can be reproduced depending on relative physical properties of a composite two layer laminate in which plastic strength controls deformation of an upper plastic layer, and viscosity controls deformation of a lower viscous layer.

• February 8, 2005: Coupling between tectonic and magmatic events: Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua

Joint USA/Nicaraguan research (Evidence for static stress changes triggering the 1999 eruption of Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua and regional aftershock sequences, Díez et al., Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, doi: 10.1029/021788, 2005) suggests that small changes in static stress following three Mw5.2 earthquakes were sufficient to trigger eruption of the Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua in 1999.

• February 8, 2005: Opportunities for education and educators:

• February 8, 2005: On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

On the Cutting Edge is an NSF funded workshop series that specializes in professional development for geoscience faculty, postdocs, and graduates. In 2005, workshops of interest to the MARGINS Community and research students include, amongst others: Designing Effective and Innovative Courses in the Geosciences, Virtual Workshop, May 23 - June 23, 2005 and face-to-face workshop, June 1-5, 2005, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA and Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences, July 21-24, 2005, Penn State University, State College, PA. More information can be obtained from the On the Cutting Edge website:

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January 2005

January 31, 2005: Ocean Science Initiative will help Smithsonian to establish a Center for Marine Science at the National Museum of Natural History

A private $10 million donation to the Smithsonian Institution will establish a Center for Marine Science at the National Museum of Natural History, along with research fellowships, international symposia, and collaborations with other institutions. In partnership with NOAA, the Smithsonian will also run a marine science exhibition opening in 2008. A web-based scientific and education program will provide access to the museum's 33+ million marine specimens. (Smithsonian Institution | Associated Press article from Guardian Unlimited)

• January 26, 2005: Northern Gulf of California extension and rifting history

A 280km NW-SE seismic and gravity transect has been used in collaborative work by Mexican, Spanish, and French researchers to constrain variations in crustal thickness across the upper Tiburón and Delfin basins, northern Gulf of California (Mode of extension and rifting history of upper Tiburón and upper Delfin basins, northern Gulf of California, González-Fernández et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 110, doi: 10.1029/2003JB002941, 2005). Observed alternation of thick (>19km) and thin (<17km) crust along the profile is consistent with a possible aborted rift below the upper Tiburón basin. Other seismic features suggest a possible detachment fault imaged beneath the upper Delfin basin.

• January 20, 2005: Permeability of underthrust sediments at the Costa Rican subduction zone

Recent research (Permeability of underthrust sediments at the Costa Rican subduction zone: Scale dependence and implications for dewatering, D.M. Saffer and A. W. McKiernan, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, doi: 10.1029/2004GL021388, 2005) suggests that comparitively rapid dewatering in the Costa Rican subduction zone is due to high porosity and permeability of the incoming sediments. The high permeability is a key control on overpressure development in- and fluid egress from- the subduction zone.

• January 6, 2005: NSF Informal Science Education Program Solicitation

The Informal Science Education (ISE) program invests in projects that develop and implement informal learning experiences designed to increase interest, engagement, and understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by individuals of all ages and backgrounds, as well as projects that advance the theory and practice of informal science education. Projects may target either public audiences or professionals whose work directly affects informal STEM learning. ISE projects are expected to demonstrate strategic impact, collaboration, and innovation. Preliminary proposal due dates: March 18, 2005; September 16, 2005. Proposal deadlines: June 13, 2005; December 5, 2005. Details.

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MARGINS News Archive 2005

MARGINS is an NSF funded program

The MARGINS Office is Hosted by Columbia University

Last updated Friday, January 19, 2007