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Dear Colleagues

by Emily Brodsky (University of California, Santa Cruz), SZ4D Executive Committee

Dec 15, 2022

Updates from the SZ4D Executive Committee

I am incredibly pleased to share that the SZ4D Implementation Plan was released in early November. This is the final report of both the SZ4D and Modelling Collaboratory for Subduction (MCS) Research Coordination Networks (RCNs). It is the culmination of 3 years of work and includes contributions from 74 committee members and approximately 3400 participants in public forums, townhalls, webinars, and in-person meetings. 

This document presents a roadmap for the SZ4D initiative that includes an ambitious observational program focusing on the insights that can be obtained from paired domestic and international subduction zones. The Chilean margin is identified as the most suitable comparison site for earthquake, volcano, and landscape geohazard problems. In order to move forward our understanding of the predictability of geohazards and other science questions, major arrays will be necessary, along with specific geological, modeling, experimental and human development activities that will provide context and allow information from one region to be utilized elsewhere. The scale of questions asked here require a highly coordinated, multidisciplinary effort that needs to be supported by a scientific center. 

As we collectively catch our breath from the enormous effort that went into this document, it is good to pause and think about the path ahead. The Implementation Plan is the blueprint for a program and center that can transform our understanding of geohazards. Now is the time to make the report into a reality. The vision is sufficiently large it would be unrealistic to think it will fit into a single proposal or funding opportunity. We need to move forward through multiple proposals while staying scientifically coordinated to maximize our collective impact. The SZ4D committees provide mechanisms to reach out into multiple communities and bring scientists to work together to make this happen.

A first step in this direction occurred at the SZ4D Community meeting in Houston Nov. 14-16. This open meeting was attended by ~170 US and international scientists, including a strong contingent from Chile. An additional 120 participants joined us online from around the globe. The meeting was designed to share the current state of SZ4D and subduction science in general while also providing a venue for feedback on the SZ4D plan. Breakout discussions provided specific feedback to the Working Groups, Integrative Groups, Operations Planning Committee and Collective Impact Committee. We look forward to gathering even more feedback at the upcoming AGU townhall that will take place tomorrow Friday December 16. We hope to see you there!

The committees are clearly the lifeblood of SZ4D. If you are already serving on an SZ4D committee, many thanks for your time and energy. If you would like to serve, please volunteer this spring (or any other year afterwards) when the call comes out in the next e-newsletter. A Committee on Committees works with the volunteer list each year to populate each of the 3 primary committees and 5 Working and Integrative Groups. The goal is to roll over a third of the committee members each year, so there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved. 

I would like to close with a special thanks to a few individuals. Ellen Kappel of GeoProse, SZ4D Program Manager Anaïs Férot, and Executive Committee member George Hilley worked tirelessly to push the Implementation Plan over the finish line. We could not have done it without them. Please join me in thanking them on behalf of all of us. 


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