Develop a New Model for the 4-D Evolution of North America

Conveners: Steven Whitmeyer, John Hole, Terry Pavlis, Laura Webb, Mike Williams, Lara Wagner

Location: James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Date: November 18-20, 2016

Open call for a special Geosphere themed issue - 

The Growth and Evolution of North America: Insights from the EarthScope Project.

Interested in submitting to this themed issue? Read the call for papers here.


Workshop Summary Report



This 3-day workshop will synthesize EarthScope results relevant to the tectonic evolution of North America, with a key objective to set the stage for a much larger collaboration to develop a Community Model for the 4-D Evolution of the North American Continent. The principal workshop goals are to 1. Synthesize EarthScope results from the primarily 3-D geophysical experiments that captured a snapshot of present day North America, especially those that have relevance to the temporal evolution of the continent, 2. Integrate EarthScope results with existing continent-scale geologic and tectonic knowledge, and 3. Produce a summary document that highlights successes from EarthScope research that has advanced our knowledge of the 4-D tectonic evolution of North America. We also intend for this workshop to lead to a GSA Special Paper or Geosphere themed issue with papers co-authored by workshop participants on topics relevant to the geological evolution of the continent.

In addition, we hope to expand on these syntheses to initiate a new community model for the lithospheric evolution of North America. The overarching scientific goal is to unravel how and why the continent evolved over ~4 billion years to the current state. That is, to address long-standing questions of how the time-integrated processes of plate tectonics and surface processes produce the earth structures we see today. This vision remains an idea that requires both community input and discussions of what is practical with technology available today.