EarthScope is a collection of science experiments aimed at exploring the structure and evolution of the North American continent funded by the National Science Foundation.
This past week, CESM educators Matt Price and Laura Middleton attended the EarthScope regional conference in Charleston, SC. The conference was all about the EarthScope program which is essentially a 4 part process to image the subsurface of the North American continent.
Part 1: A 70km x 70km grid over the entire lower 48 states to receive a Transportable Array Seismometer. A collection of 400 TA’s have moved across the country from west – to east and are just now arriving on the eastern half of the country! After the eastern half, the TA’s will move to Alaska for their final mission. The Transportable Array Seismometers are buried in the ground and solar powered. Each canister houses the seismometer, deep-cycle marine batteries, a sump pump (in case of flooding), and instruments to stream the data to the internet via cell phone. The precise instruments are allowing scientists to image the subsurface to better understand earthquakes and plate tectonics! See earthquakes here! See seismometer map here! Visit EarthScope here!
Part 2: GPS receivers have been placed all over the country and can monitor ground movement to the sub-millimeter level. See what direction and how fast the continents are moving!
Part 3: Underwater seismometers collecting data from the sea floor around the United States.
Part 4: LiDAR (light imaging and ranging, think of radar with lasers to make images) maps of the entire country to monitor rapid and slow changes. See if your area has been LiDAR’d yet!
A lot was learned at the EarthScope Conference! Matt and Laura look forward to incorporating EarthScope technology and data into our programs and the museum!
Check out some EarthScope’s partners too: Incorporated Research Institute for Seismology (IRIS), UNAVCO (GPS), and ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration!