By integrating scientific information derived from its multi-disciplinary observatories, which use a wide variety of geophysical instrumentation, EarthScope will yield a comprehensive, time-dependent picture of the continent beyond that which any single discipline can achieve. Data obtained from these observatories will allow scientist to describe how geological forces shaped North America's landscape and contribute to the public's understanding of our dynamic Earth.
The USArray component of EarthScope is a continental-scale seismic and magnetotelluric observatory designed to provide a foundation for integrated studies of continental lithosphere and deep Earth structure over a wide range of scales. USArray is providing a new insight and new data to address fundamental questions in earthquake physics, volcanic processes, core-mantle interactions, active deformation and tectonics, continental structure and evolution, geodynamics, and crustal fluids (magmatic, hydrothermal, and meteoric).
The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) component of EarthScope is a geodetic observatory designed to study the three-dimensional strain field resulting from deformation across the active boundary zone between the Pacific and North American plates in the western United States.
The San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) is a 3-kilometer deep hole drilled directly into the San Andreas Fault midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, near Parkfield, CA. Located in an area that has ruptured six times since 1857, the hole is providing the first opportunity to observe directly the conditions under which earthquakes occur, to collect rocks and fluids from the fault zone for laboratory study, and to continuously monitor the physical condition within an active earthquake nucleation zone.