U.S. Science Envoy and Scripps Director Margaret Leinen addresses the importance of cooperation between Chile and the United States aboard R/V Marcus G. Langseth in Valparaiso, Chile.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, U.S. Ambassador to Chile Carol Z. Perez, and others joined Leinen during her tour of the academic research vessel, which is operated by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
The ship, a pioneer in marine seismology, sailed along the coast of northern Chile from Oct. 23 to Dec. 7, collecting information for a database of images of the Chilean seismogenic zone where earthquakes take place. The second half of its journey begins in mid-January, as the vessel begins to map out the Chilean margin, a submerged continental shelf that extends the length of South America. The largest earthquake ever recorded — a 9.5 — occurred there in 1960, triggering a tsunami whose waves reached Japan 17,000 miles away.
The program, funded by the National Science Foundation, includes scientists from the U.S. and Chile.
Leinen was named a U.S. Science Envoy in February 2016 with the focus area of building networks of ocean scientists, particularly Latin America, East Asia, and the Pacific. Beginning at the COP21 climate conference in Paris in December 2015, Scripps has collaborated with the Chilean government to advance ocean management issues at the international negotiations.