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
Credit: Katy Cain/Carnegie Institution for Science, modified after Plank and McGuire, 2017.
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
Thorsten Becker University of Texas - Austin
Emily Brodsky* University of California, Santa Cruz
Mike Brudzinski Miami University
Roland Bürgmann University of California Berkeley
Alison Duvall University of Washington
Tobias Fischer University of New Mexico
Melodie French Rice University
Sean Gallen Colorado State University
Matt Haney U. S. Geological Survey
George Hilley* Stanford University
Kristin Morell University of California, Santa Barbara
Andrew Newman Georgia Tech
Terry Plank Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
Diana Roman* Carnegie Institution for Science
Donna Shillington Northern Arizona University
Christy Till Arizona State University
Doug Wiens Washington University, St. Louis
* Executive Committee of the RCN
Community Planning Documents
USGS Subduction Zone Science Plan
National Academies ERUPT Report
SZ4D NSF Vision Document