Most of the events that shape the Earth's surface both above and below sea level leave a record of their impacts in the sediments that accumulate on continental margins. Yet, despite decades intensely studying sedimentary systems, much remains to be understood.
The Source-to-Sink Initiative, also known as S2S, is a component of the MARGINS program funded by the National Science Foundation. The goal of the S2S Initiative is to develop a quantitative understanding of margin sediment dispersal systems and associated stratigraphy (sediment or rock strata formations). Being able to predict dispersal-system behavior has critical implications for understanding geochemical cycling like that of carbon, ecosystem changes tied to global warming and sea-level rise, and management of resources like soils, wetlands, groundwater, and hydrocarbons used for fuel. The Source-to-Sink Focus Initiative aims to address the following fundamental questions:
- What processes control the rate of sediment and solute (dissolved material) production in a dispersal system?
- How does transport through the system alter the magnitude, grain size, and delivery rate to sediment sinks?
- How is variability of sediment production, transport, and accumulation in a dispersal system preserved by the stratigraphic record?