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Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion: Representative Activities


Centers and Large Facilities - Education and Outreach

Project Name: MARGINS

Location: (office is currently housed at Boston University)

Contact information: Dr. Geoff Abers MARGINS Chair, (617) 353-2616; abers@bu.edu; Pamela Lazeeta, (617) 358-4625; plezaeta@bu.edu

Website: www.nsf-margins.org/EPO/index.html

Main Project description/purpose

Continental margins are the Earth's principal loci for producing hydrocarbon and metal resources, for earthquake, landslide, volcanic and climatic hazards, and for the greatest population density. Despite the societal and economic importance of margins, many of the mechanical, fluid, chemical and biological processes that shape them are poorly understood. Progress is hindered by the sheer scope of the problems and by the space and time scales as well as the complexities of the processes.  To overcome these obstacles, the earth science community has identified the outstanding scientific problems in continental margins research and the MARGINS Program is promoting research strategies that redirect traditional approaches to margin studies.  In particular, the MARGINS Program will focus on the coordinated, interdisciplinary investigation of four fundamental initiatives: the Seismogenic Zone Experiment, the Subduction Factory, Rupturing Continental Lithosphere, and Sediment Dynamics and Strata Formation (Source to Sink).

Education and Outreach Mission and Goals

As part of its outreach mission, the MARGINS program seeks to communicate to students and the public the outcome of its multidisciplinary research in an integrative manner, providing resources and programs to enhance the broader impact.

The MARGINS web page provides a primary educational resource by highlighting research results. Some other current and ongoing projects include:

  • The MARGINS Data Access Center hosted by the Marine Geoscience Data System (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) provides metadata and data links for all MARGINS data, and tools such as GeoMapApp for easy data visualization and manipulation.
  • The Student Prize for Outstanding Presentation at the Fall AGU Meeting, to motivate students on MARGINS-related research. This program, running yearly since 2003, rewards and highlights student presentations on MARGINS-related science.
  • The Distinguished Lectureship Program is an initiative to teach students and the public the MARGINS research, with lectures given at selected colleges or universities on specific days. Any U.S. college or university may apply to the program in an open contest; especially colleges not normally associated with MARGINS research are encouraged to apply. This program runs annually since 2006, providing support for prominent MARGINS scientists to lecture.

- * New in 2007 * MARGINS has just been awarded, from NSF's Division of Undergraduate Education, a Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Phase I grant to develop web-based undergraduate classroom teaching modules, in cooperation with the Science Education Resource Center of Carleton College (SERC). A development workshop will be held on April 5-6 in Arlington, VA, at which creators and testers of mini-lessons will begin the creation of teaching modules. Applications are now open to any interested educator and/or researcher who would like to participate.

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