Images and models of active faults, subducting plates, mantle drips, and rising plumes are spurring new excitement about deep-Earth processes and connections between Earth's internal systems and plate tectonics. The new results and the steady progress of Earthscope's USArray across the country are also providing a special opportunity to reach students and the general public.
The pace of discoveries about the deep Earth is accelerating due to advances in experimental, modeling, and sensing technologies; new data processing capabilities; and installation of new networks, especially the EarthScope facility. EarthScope is an interdisciplinary program that combines geology and geophysics to study the structure and evolution of the North American continent. To explore the current state of deep-Earth science and ways in which it can be brought into the undergraduate classroom, 40 professors attended a virtual workshop given by On the Cutting Edge, a program that strives to improve undergraduate geoscience education through an integrated cooperative series of workshops and Web-based resources. The 6-day two-part workshop consisted of plenary talks, large and small group discussions, and development and review of new classroom and laboratory activities.