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What large-scale geosciences project would get your attention?

Last night on Twitter, some of us geology-types (including Brian Romans, Yorrike, Volcanojw, Ron Schott, Cian Dawson) had a discussion about “big picture” geology projects. We’re talking about the equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider or Hubble Space Telescope, but in the realm of geology. Now, there have been a few of these types of projects that could capture the imagination of the public – so examples of projects or proposed projects that might fit the bill:

  • Project Mohole: Originally launched in the 1950s, it was to drill into the mantle, a topic that comes up regularly.
  • Earthscope: This ongoing project is more-or-less disassembling the structure of North America. It consists of a moving system of seismic stations (amongst other experiments) to map the interior of the continent – from coast to coast.
  • Iceland Deep Drilling Program: Let’s drilling a 4-5 km hole into Iceland, one of the more tectonically and magmatically active areas on the planet.
  • Project Neptune: It doesn’t exist (yet), but would wire most of the Juan de Fuca plate, from the spreading ridge in the Pacific Ocean to the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.
  • This is just a taste of what some “big picture” geology might be – so my question to all of you is this: What would be the sort of big geosciences project or instrument that might captivate the world like LHC or Hubble? Is it possible for geosciences to get the public’s attention like physics or astronomy have done – and especially, get the funding to build the “big project”. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think – and don’t be afraid to push the limits.


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