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GeoArray September 2023

by Christine Regalla (Northern Arizona University) and the GeoArray Team

Sep 13, 2023

Working to build large-scale collaborative research opportunities for the field geosciences

GeoArray is a component of SZ4D focused on supporting the collection of interdisciplinary field geoscience data at large scale. Answering SZ4D research questions requires the analysis and integration of large amounts of geoscientific field data across a wide range of disciplines. However, most geoscience field work is currently organized and completed by individuals or small collaboratives groups, and field-based geoscience disciplines generally lack the human or physical infrastructure needed to support, facilitate, and coordinate safe, effective, large-scale research initiatives. The SZ4D GeoArray initiative seeks to develop opportunities to support effective collaborations between large numbers of field geoscientists from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines. A community data collection model provides opportunities to:

  • Broaden participation in field geoscience data collection and interpretation;

  • Collect large quantities of standardized data usable across disciplines;

  • Provide large datasets of field observations to bridge the disparate scales between geophysical and geologic observations;

  • Position field geosciences to undertake “big data” analysis;

  • Increase the accessibility of field data and samples to researchers;

  • Allow for greater and more respectful engagement with stakeholders and local organizations; and increase cost effectiveness of field work. 

The GeoArray team is currently composed of an ad hoc group of SZ4D scientists from SZ4D working groups (Landscapes and Seascapes, Magmatic Drivers of Eruption, Faulting and Earthquake Cycles), integrative groups (Building Equity and Capacity, Collective Impact, and Operations committees). The group also includes two members from Indiana University STEM Education Innovation & Research Institute who bring critical expertise in Geoscience Education research and the application of social science methods to geoscience teamwork and collaboration. Visit the GeoArray webpage for more information on team members and affiliations.

The GeoArray Team is currently developing pilot projects to test the effectiveness of intentional team building strategies on the development of new collaborations, the co-development of research ideas, and a sense of belonging and inclusion, while collecting data in the field. Proposed projects would involve field scientists, laboratory scientists, modelers, and geophysicists working together in the field to develop research ideas, collect samples and data, and conduct post field analysis. Identified pilot field sites include three locations that span the volcanic arc, forearc, and exhumed subduction terrains in the southern Cascadia subduction zone. Participants would receive instruction on team building skills and field safety protocols, support for scientific data gathering and analysis, and would be part of a team of experts collaborating on cutting edge research questions. 

Our goals are to build toward a GeoArray program that is fully integrated across SZ4D initiatives, that allows us to:

  • Establish collaboration, matchmaking, & team building mechanisms that foster interdisciplinary research and knowledge transfer, bridging field geoscience, modeling, laboratory, and geophysical disciplines.

  • Provide mechanisms to recruit and train new participants, increasing the diversity of scientists participating in subduction zone field research.

  • Promote effective collaborative discourse at all stages of research, from project design, data collection, analysis, and publication.

  • Host collaborative data collection campaigns and workshops, both in and out of the field.

  • Provide support to enable safe, inclusive, accessible field experiences.


SZ4D seeks input from the scientific community on needs, opportunities, and challenges in developing such a community-based field program, including but not limited to an e-poster presentation at the fall American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco. Additional feedback can be provided on the GeoArray webpage.

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