Insights: Scoping Out the Planet; November 2005; Scientific American Magazine; by Krista West; 2 Page(s)
At two years old and $37 million invested, EarthScope is like a young Little League team with the game tied in the second inning--the players are still learning to work together, and the parental units are watching closely. But the game is just getting started.
The passionate, pat-you-on-the-back coach is Greg van der Vink, geophysicist by training, visiting Princeton University professor, and the first project director of the most ambitious earth science project ever attempted. If successful, EarthScope will measure the movement and deformation of the earth below the contiguous U.S. and Alaska with a level of detail and data accessibility never seen in geophysics. The hope is that a clearer understanding of the forces that shape the environment will translate into better assessment of earthquake and volcanic hazards and more precise knowledge of the country's natural resources.