EarthScope SAFOD Management Office for Physical Samples Grant uri icon


  • The funding award supports the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) Office for Management of Physical Samples at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, from October 2013 to September 2016. The functions of the office include managing the curation and long-term storage of the SAFOD physical samples at the IODP Gulf Coast Repository (GCR) of Texas A&M University, cutting and distributing sub-samples awarded to scientists, maintaining a digital archive of sampling history and publications resulting from study of the physical samples, working to increase the diversity of researchers participating in sample characterizations, and fostering integration of SAFOD results with those of the broader scientific community studying earthquake mechanics. The management office works with three committees charged with reviewing policies and maintaining effective operations necessary to meet commitments to the Principal Investigator (PI) user community, specifically the SAFOD Advisory Committee (SAC), the SAFOD Core Sample Working Group (CoSWoG), and the SAFOD Sample Committee (SSC). The primary objectives of the management office are to preserve the SAFOD samples in cold storage lockers and to facilitate continuing use of the samples for independent PI-driven geoscience research. As part of the management office activities, a Web-based mapping and sample request tool, the Core Viewer, is maintained and updated annually for communicating sample request and sample award information to the scientific community. This is the primary tool for recording, reviewing, and executing sample distributions to scientists.The San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) is one of the major research facilities of EarthScope and provides for the study and direct monitoring of the physical and chemical processes that control fault creep and earthquake rupture in an active plate-boundary fault zone. The most significant achievements of SAFOD to date are the successful scientific drilling across the San Andreas Fault at ~3 km depth, initiating an in situ geological and geophysical characterization of the fault zone, and the successful collection of valuable core and other physical samples from across the active components of the fault. The samples form the basis of ongoing laboratory investigations using a variety of technologies and approaches to address fundamental questions of earthquake mechanics. These studies are transforming our understanding of faulting processes and ultimately will advance modeling and monitoring of seismogenic faults, and earthquake hazard mitigation.The physical sample collection of SAFOD is truly exceptional and of great scientific value. The collection is the direct result of over 15 years of careful planning and completion of a multi-phase, complex drilling project. The samples provide a window to the active processes operating in a major active plate-boundary fault at seismogenic depths. The data and interpretations that result from the scientific analysis of these unique samples establish an important baseline for comparison with other drilled fault zones and with geological observations of exhumed faults. Because of their unique characteristics, the SAFOD samples are in high demand by researchers worldwide; no other active seismogenic fault zone drilling program is set up to provide samples to a large number of researchers for continued scientific discovery. In addition to sample curation and distribution, the SAFOD sample facility provides valuable materials for education and outreach, and promotes the sharing of scientific data internationally. Efficient and thoughtful management of this resource is facilitiating scientific investigations. The research projects from this project ultimately will benefit society through improved earthquake hazard mitigation.

date/time interval

  • 2013 - 2020