MCS/SZ4D Workshop: Modeling Landscapes and Seascapes 

October 18 & 19, 2021 - 9am - 12pm PDT

Online only

Dates: October 18-19, 2021 9a–1p PDT / 12–4p EDT 

Registration Deadline: Oct 11, 2021

Conveners: Leif Karlstrom (University of Oregon) and Mark Behn (Boston College)

Registration Link: 


Workshop Objectives: 

SZ4D is a NSF-sponsored initiative to study subduction zones through space and time, with a focus on the fundamental processes underlying geologic hazards such as great earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. One component of the SZ4D vision is the establishment of a Modeling Collaboratory for Subduction (MCS), which would enable community model building efforts to advance subduction zone science. The objective of the MCS is to create new kinds of physics-based models for hazards at subduction zones, and apply them to understand fundamental processes, guide instrumentation deployments, interpret observations, and assess risk. Planning for MCS is funded through a Research Collaboration Network (RCN) and has led to a series of community workshops on key processes operating in subduction zones including: Fluids, Volcanoes, and the Megathrust. These workshops have led to recommendations for different components within an MCS, as well as key guiding principles for building a diverse and inclusive computational community.


During the closing stages of the MCS planning process, we are holding a workshop to focus on computational issues associated with surface processes to complement SZ4D’s Landscapes and Seascapes (L&S) Working Group. Surface processes play a fundamental role in subduction zone systems. Landscape evolution and sediment transport affect both volcanic eruption dynamics and megathrust stress state. The workshop will foster discussion of existing and needed models, modeling capabilities and infrastructure to help resolve SZ4D Landscapes and Seascapes (L&S) primary science driver questions: (1) How do events within Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, and solid-earth generate, consume and transport sediment across subduction-zone land- and seascapes? and (2) What fraction of a subduction zone’s energy budget goes into building and shaping subduction zone land- and seascapes?  More broadly, the workshop will be a venue to discuss modeling challenges in geomorphology and how the community could better organize – including training and focused research efforts – to address these challenges.


The two-day workshop will be structured such that Day One motivates the L&S science questions and challenges, while Day Two focuses on the question of how to structure an MCS to best address these challenges. Each day will begin with a series of short talks, followed by discussion and breakout sessions. Community feedback from this workshop will inform the final SZ4D MCS RCN Report (to be prepared in December 2021) and the eventual structure of the MCS.



Workshop Schedule (all times PDT)


Day 1, Monday Oct 18: Highlighting L&S Science 

9:00a          Introduction of Workshop Goals –– Leif Karlstrom (University of Oregon)

9:10a          Overview of SZ4D Landscapes & Seascapes (L&S) Working Group Science Goals –– 

                    Kristin Morell  (UC Santa Barbara)

9:30a          Connections between Surface Processes and the Deep Earth –– Anne Glerum (GFZ, 



9:50a          ------ Break -------


10:00a        Connections with SZ4D Faulting and Earthquake Cycles (FEC) Working Group –– Danica   

                    Roth (Colorado School of Mines)

10:20a        Connections with SZ4D Magmatic Drivers of Eruptions (MDE) Working Group –– Gordon 

                    Grant (Oregon State University) 

10:40a        Granular Flow modeling –– Doug Jerolmack (University of Pennsylvania)

11:00a        Plenary Discussion


11:15a        ------ Break -------


11:30a        Breakout Discussion of the L&S Modeling Needs for an MCS

12:30p        Breakout Reports / Plenary Discussion

1:00p          End Day 1


Day 2, Tuesday Oct 19: How to structure an MCS to address the science goals

9:00a          Synthesis of MCS Fluids, Megathrust, & Volcanos Workshops –– Thorsten Becker (UT


9:20a          CSDMS Overview –– Greg Tucker (CU Boulder)

9:40a          Statistical mechanics in modeling surface processes –– David Furbish (Vanderbilt



10:00a        ------ Break -------


10:10a        Landslides/Hazards –– Dalia Kirschbaum (NASA)

10:30a        Education/Outreach/JEDI Efforts –– Nicole Gasparini (Tulane University)

10:50a        Potential MCS structures –– Mark Behn (Boston College)


11:00a        ------ Break -------


11:15a        Breakout Discussion on how to structure an MCS

12:15p        Breakout Reports / Plenary Discussion

1:00p          End Day 2

MCS RCN and Surface Processes

Surface processes play a fundamental role in subduction zone systems, and landscape evolution and sediment transport affect both volcanic eruption dynamics and megathrust stress state. As such, aspects of landscape evolution dynamics are explored in the MCS Megathrust, Fluids, and Volcano Workshops and our Webinar Series but the MCS did originally not plan for a dedicated surface-processes and tectonics workshop because a comprehensive and recent report is available thanks to the CTSP Workshop listed below. We had originally planned a joint workshop with the Landscape and Seascape group of SZ4D but Covid intervened. We consider the recommendations of the CTSP report highly relevant for MCS and SZ4D efforts.


A whitepaper reporting outcomes from an NSF-sponsored

workshop in Boulder in 2018, bringing together CIG and CSDMS communities to explore how progress can be made in the coupled modeling of lithospheric dynamics and surface processes.