Facility Support: AfricaArray

Project: Research project

Project Details




Support from this grant will partially underwrite the salary of an in-country technician and provide for some operational expenses and oversight costs associated with the development of the AfricaArray seismic network. AfricaArray is a new pan-African training and research initiative in geophysics that emphasizes seismology and has been set up and is being partially supported by the University of Witwatersrand, the South African Council for Geoscience (CG), Penn State University and private industrial funds. The seismic network will consist of 22 new broadband stations that will complement 17 existing stations (not all broadband) in seven countries in southern and eastern Africa. Many of the existing short-period stations will be upgraded to broadband instruments. The AfricaArray technician will be responsible for network operations outside of South Africa. The CG will handle operation and maintenance needs within South Africa. The scientific goals of AfricaArray (funded through a companion Geophysics project EAR-044032) are to understand the relationship between deep mantle and upper mantle slow seismic anomalies associated with the African Superplume. It is hoped that data from this network will allow exploration of plausible chemical and dynamic causes of the Superplume seismic anomaly and to further elucidate the subsurface structures associated with the east African Rift zone. The current 17 station seismic network on the African continents is too broadly distributed to image these structures with high resolution. An expanded AfricaArray network will allow more detailed investigations of lower crustal and mantle structures associated with mantle upwelling, surface uplift, rifting and volcanism. AfricaArray also hopes to address a long standing problem on the developing African continent, namely, scientific literacy. This program should further the training of geoscience students in techniques and data analysis that could position them for domestic careers in government, industry and education. All of the AfricaArray data will eventually be archived within the IRIS Data Management System (DMS).


Effective start/end date5/15/054/30/09


  • National Science Foundation: $191,482.00


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