Earth and Planets Laboratory Staff Seismologist and H.O. Wood Chair Lara Wagner was recently elected as the Chair of the newly founded EarthScope Consortium’s Board of Directors. The EarthScope Consortium, which launches on January 1, 2023, will merge two influential geoscience non-profits: UNAVCO, a geodesy-focused consortium of universities, and the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), its seismological counterpart.
Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), these two consortia currently provide the geophysical community with key resources like geophysical network support, data management, outreach programs, and access to vital instrumentation. Founded over 35 years ago, these consortia opened up the field of geophysics to a wider range of researchers, leading to a better understanding of our planet’s inner workings.
Formally presented to the public at the 2022 American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting, EarthScope Consortium plans to merge these two communities and continue the organization’s programs while remaining dedicated to transforming global geophysical research and education. The combined community will include over 170 U.S. member organizations and over 265 associate member organizations including government agencies and observatories, and research centers worldwide.
Wagner has previously served on the Board of Directors for IRIS for the past two years and has enjoyed access to IRIS facilities throughout her career.
“The resources IRIS, UNAVCO, and now EarthScope Consortium, provide to researchers are invaluable,” said Wagner
“We're on the road to an exciting new future as a bigger, stronger, and more exciting institution than ever before."
- Lara Wagner
Earth and Planets Laboratory
H.O. Woods Chair
While distinct organizations, for the past decade, the sister consortiums have worked in tandem to operate complementary NSF-funded geoscience facilities: SAGE (Seismological facility for the Advancement of Geoscience) and GAGE (Geodetic facility for the Advancement of Geoscience.)
Together, these two facilities support seismology and geodesy in the US by operating longstanding networks like the Global Seismic Network and Network of the Americas and providing the geophysical community with a “lending library” of instrumentation that scientists can borrow for research projects and teaching.
Wagner is dedicated to ensuring the continued success of the facilities to be run by EarthScope, and to ensure that community input into the consortium via its governing bodies includes an increasingly more diverse set of voices.
“One of my priorities,” explains Wagner, “is to establish the new structure in a way that broadens the base of people who are involved in governance within our community and ensure that a more diverse range of voices is heard.”
Now that the countdown has begun on the EarthScope launch date, the two communities are looking forward to the next era of geoscience support as a merged consortium. At the 2022 AGU reception, Wagner addressed the audience with optimism, “We're on the road to an exciting new future as a bigger, stronger, and more exciting institution than ever before."