The Canadian Cordillera – the mountainous regions of western Canada – represents an exceptional natural laboratory to explore interconnected Earth systems that are critical to our understanding of scientific grand challenges related to global change. The Canadian Cordillera Array (CCArray) is a proposed international scientific initiative, spearheaded by the creation of a tectonic plate-boundary scale, open-data observational network, that will enable trans-disciplinary research focused on Earth systems processes and boundaries from the core to the magnetosphere.
Building upon the scientific momentum of previous Earth systems research and data collection initiatives including Lithoprobe (1984 – 2004) and EarthScope (2004 ~ 2019), a foundational element for CCArray will be the installation of a network of real-time telemetered observatories. The core of the observational network will be broadband seismometers and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) equipment; additional instrumentation and measurements at selected locations including meteorological and atmospheric gas sensors, borehole temperature and moisture sensors, riometers and magnetometers, and relative and absolute gravimeters.
Research objectives include improving our understanding of Earth structure, tectonics, earthquake occurrence and seismic hazard, glacial isostatic adjustment, induced and triggered seismicity from resource extraction, mountain glacier change, and better determining vertical land motion for robust relative sea-level projections. Associated research includes establishment of Critical Zone Observatories, ionospheric and tropospheric investigations, and studies of the active zone and permafrost dynamics. Education-outreach-communication programs will form an integral part of the CCArray initiative. The vision is for CCArray to serve as a springboard for an even more ambitious national initiative in Canada. Plans for funding and implement of CCArray are currently under development.