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The International Symposium and Workshop, Seismic Probing of the Continents and Their Margins, was held in Canberra, Australia, July 1–8, 1988. It was the third in a series of biennial international meetings concerned with deep seismic reflection profiling of the continental crust. In the 2 years since the last conference in Cambridge [Barton, 1986; Peddy and Keen, 1987], many new deep seismic reflection profiles have been recorded, especially in western Europe and North America.

The use of deep seismic reflection profiling to explore the deep basement of the continental crust was well established by 1984, when the first conference was held at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. By 1986, the deep seismic reflection method had become established as a means of testing models of the rifting or collision of continents, the evolution of mountain belts, and the development of sedimentary basins. Since 1986, new results have emerged for continental crust ranging in age from the Archean and Proterozoic terranes of North America, Scandinavia, and Australia, to the tectonically active regions of the European Alps and California. In some cases, geoscientists can now examine the structure of the continents in three dimensions to depths greater than 50 km in order to improve our understanding of continental tectonic processes.