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Third FARM Workshop: Workshop on the Science, Status, and Future Needs of Experimental Rock Deformation

Dates: August 13 and 14, 2004 (Friday and Saturday)
Location: Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA
Conveners: Terry Tullis, Brown University; Tom Jordan, SCEC; Robert Liebermann, COMPRES

The field of laboratory experimental rock deformation provides data that are critical to understanding earthquake mechanics, flow of the Earth's crust, and convection of the mantle. However, in all of these areas data are needed that are beyond the capabilities of present experimental equipment and laboratories. For example, it is not presently possible to conduct experiments that allow us to determine the mechanical behavior during coseismic slip on a crustal fault, during fluid-enhanced metamorphic reactions in the lower crust, or during high strain flow of high pressure phases in the deep mantle. In addition, the present way in which most data are collected, namely by isolated labs funded by modest grants to individual PIs, may not be capable of moving to the next generation of facilities that may be needed to answer the increasingly complex questions that the field is asking and being asked. The startup funds needed to establish a new lab are daunting, as is the cost of the technical personnel needed to keep a lab functioning. This means that few new labs are started by universities, the government, or industry, making it unclear what employment options exist for the next generation of scientists. In addition many of those responsible for running existing laboratories are approaching retirement age and it is not clear that these laboratories will continue when these people retire.

We will hold a one and half day workshop immediately following this year's Rock Deformation Gordon Conference to access:

  • the scientific problems that a broad cross-section of the Earth science community feels are important and that may be addressable by laboratory experimental rock deformation studies,
  • the status of existing lab equipment and whether new equipment design and construction is needed to address the scientific questions,
  • the number and nature of existing personnel trained to conduct lab studies, the prospects for training future personnel, and the employment opportunities for existing and future personnel, and
  • whether existing organizational structures are adequate or new ones are needed to solve the scientific questions, run and create the necessary equipment, and employ the needed personnel.

We have limited funds from both SCEC and COMPRES to support the incremental costs for attending this workshop by those who are already at the Gordon Conference, and to pay the travel and lodging expenses of any additional people who wish to attend. If you will not be attending the Gordon conference and decide that you need to rent a car from Logan airport, try to arrange to join with others in sharing the car to keep costs down.

The workshop itself will primarily consist of discussion, stimulated by a few carefully chosen presentations. The sessions will be organized around themes similar to those numbered 1-4 above as well as specialized breakouts on subdivisions of some of these, such as science questions focused on shallow crustal brittle deformation, deeper crustal flow, and mantle flow. In order to make the discussions at the workshop more efficient, there is a comprehensive web-based survey (accessed below) that participants are required to answer in order to have their workshop expenses covered. Others who are interested, but cannot attend the workshop, are strongly encouraged to respond to the survey. If possible, the survey should be filled out by August 1, and it must be filled out by workshop participants by August 5 if they wish to have their workshop expenses paid. Results of the responses will be available after August 5.

The workshop will start at 8:30 AM, Friday morning August 13, 2004 and end at noon on Saturday, August 14. Lodging will be in the rooms at Mount Holyoke used for the Gordon Conference. We hope to arrange bus transportation to Logan airport in Boston on Saturday afternoon. Registration for the workshop must be done below. If you are not part of the SCEC community, you can sign up below, as well -- but please check to make sure, first!