Continental margins are the Earth's principal loci for producing hydrocarbon and metal resourcessemi; for earthquake, landslide, volcanic, and climatic hazardssemi; and for the greatest population density. As such, margins are where the action is.
Despite the societal and economic importance of margins, many of the mechanical, fluid, chemical, and biological processes that shape them are poorly understood. Progress is hindered by the sheer scope of the problems and by the spatial-temporal scale and complexities of the processes. To overcome these obstacles, the margins community has identified the outstanding scientific problems in continental margins research, and the MARGINS Program, a research initiative supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), is promoting research strategies that redirect traditional approaches to margin studies.