In 1991, investigators from 11 nations involved in Antarctic multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection research sought a way to keep the Antarctic Treaty's promise of open access to data, and in the process to encourage Earth-science research using seismic data. The Antarctic Seismic Data Library System for Cooperative Research (SDLS) was the solution, and is now a recommendation of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCP). Today—at 12 branches spanning the world—researchers can access over 68,000 km of marine MCS data to use for cooperative research.
More than 150,000 km of MCS data have been accumulated since 1976 by 13 countries on nearly 70 cruises. The majority of data now in the library cover the Ross Sea, Wilkes Land, and Prydz Bay sectors of the Antarctic margin, with smaller amounts from the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula.