A New Initiative to Investigate the Processes that Underlie Subduction Zone Hazards
A community-driven Research Coordination Network to develop a new long-term research plan for focused study on land and under the sea
What is SZ4D?
A vision of coordinated research to understand the processes that underlie subduction zone hazards
SZ4D is a new initiative in the U.S. research community to study subduction zones – the places where tectonic plates converge and collide – through both space and time, with a focus on the fundamental processes underlying geologic hazards such as great earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions.
Subduction zones produce the most devastating seismic, volcanic, and landslide hazards on the planet, yet we lack critical understanding of the basic physical and chemical processes controlling the occurrence and magnitude of earthquakes or eruptions.
SZ4D focuses on designing targeted experiments to make the next big leaps in understanding of the processes underlying subduction geohazards. These are envisioned to involve comprehensive suites of new measurements to study subduction processes at key locations on the planet and fully incorporate the fourth dimension of time.
The SZ4D Vision that emerged at the NSF-sponsored Subduction Zone Observatory Workshop (2016) was a vision for a new Subduction Zone Initiative (SZ4D) to capture and model emergent earthquake, tsunami, landslide, and volcanic phenomena over space and time. The ensuing "SZ4D Vision Document" workshop report identified three key components to develop and phase in over the next 3 to 4 years, all developed and guided by an integrative organization:
an interdisciplinary science program
a modeling collaboratory
a community infrastructure program
The SZ4D Research Coordination Network
That integrative organization is the Research Coordination Network, or RCN. From 2018 to 2021, its National Science Foundation-funded mission is to coordinate and guide the development of the SZ4D Initiative, turning the conceptual SZ4D Vision into a unified, concrete community plan for a decade-long coordinated research effort.
SZ4D RCN comprises a Steering Committee, Interest Groups on key elements of the program, and Working Groups that will be tasked to develop detailed plans.
Harold Tobin (chair) University of Washington
Diego Arcas NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Emily Brodsky University of California, Santa Cruz
David Chadwell Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Alison Duvall University of Washington
Melodie French Rice University
Matt Haney U. S. Geological Survey
George Hilley Stanford University
Diego Melgar University of Oregon
Sarah Penniston-Dorland University of Maryland
Terry Plank Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
Diana Roman Carnegie Institution for Science
Donna Shillington Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
Christy Till Arizona State University
Doug Wiens Washington University, St. Louis
to contact us: email
Stay Tuned for Updates!
Links and Resources
Community Planning Documents
USGS Subduction Zone Science Plan
SZ4D NSF Vision Document
Other Groups Under the SZ4D Coordination Umbrella
These are additional NSF-funded RCNs that are tackling specific parts of the SZ4D Vision
Modeling Collaboratory for Subduction (MCS)
Community Network for Volcanic Eruption Response (CONVERSE)