The close of the last millennium brought about rapid advances in seismology, satellite technology, micro-electronics, computing, oil-field techniques, and communication and information technology that open new opportunities for Earth scientists to probe our planet with greater precision and efficiency than ever before. In an effort to exploit these technologies, Earth scientists are working with the NSr-USGS, and NASA to encourage the President and Congress to provide funding for a bold new initiative called EarthScope.

EarthScope is conceived as a distributed, multipurpose, state-of-the-art set of linked instruments and observatories that will expand the bservational capabilities of the Earth sciences and bring real-time data to our desktops. Data streams from these facilities integrated with new and existing geologic data will provide unprecedented opportunities to unravel the structure, evolution, and dynamics of the North American continent, and to better understand earthquakes and fault systems, volcanoes and magmatic processes, and links between tectonics and surficial processes. Following is a synopsis of the proposed EarthScope components.