For a quarter of a century the Himalayan-Karakoram-Tibet (HKT) Workshop has provided scientists studying the India-Asia collision system a wonderful opportunity for workshop-style discussion with colleagues working in this region. In 2010, HKT returns to North America for the first time since 1996. The 25th international workshop is held from June 7 to10 at San Francisco State University, California.
The international community was invited to contribute scientific papers to the workshop, on all aspects of geoscience research in the geographic area of the Tibetan Plateau and its bounding ranges and basins, from basic mapping to geochemical and isotopic analyses to large-scale geophysical imaging experiments. In recognition of the involvement of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists in a wide range of these activities, the USGS agreed to publish the extended abstracts of the numerous components of HKT-25 as an online Open-File Report, thereby ensuring the wide availability and distribution of these abstracts, particularly in the HKT countries from which many active workers are precluded by cost from attending international meetings.
In addition to the workshop characterized by contributed presentations, participants were invited to attend a pre-meeting field trip from the Coast Ranges to the Sierra Nevada, to allow the international group to consider how the tectonic elements of the Pacific margin compare to those of the Himalayan belt. Following the workshop, the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored a workshop on the 'Future directions for NSF-sponsored geoscience research in the Himalaya/Tibet' intended to provide NSF Program Directors with a clear statement and vision of community goals for the future, including the scientific progress we can expect if NSF continues its support of projects in this geographic region, and to identify which key geoscience problems and processes are best addressed in the Himalaya and Tibet, what key datasets are needed, and how NSF can best support the evolving need for interdisciplinary investigations.
This workshop also has clear societal relevance. Recent earthquakes have brought international attention to active tectonics and earthquake hazards in the HKT region. Prominent examples include the Mw 7.8 Kokoxili (Qinghai, China) earthquake of 2001, the Mw 7.6 Kashmir (Pakistan) earthquake of 2005, the Mw 7.9 Wenchuan (Sichuan, China) earthquake of 2008, and this year the Mw 6.9 Yushu (Qinghai, China) earthquake. Geological and geophysical field work conducted both before these earthquakes, as well as in response to them, has helped to define the active faults and regional tectonics in the HKT region. The research presented at this workshop provides the framework necessary for improved seismic hazard assessments in this region.
The organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of NSF's Continental Dynamics Program and its Office of International Science and Engineering, through award EAR-0965796. We thank San Francisco State University's Sheldon Axler, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, and Toby Garfield, Director of the Romberg Tiburon Center, for use of their conference facilities; and the Department of Geosciences, particularly Deb Shulman and Miriam Knof, for administrative support. The California Academy of Sciences generously hosted a reception for visiting delegates, and Brad Ritts (Chevron Exploration Technology Company), Todd Greene (California State University, Chico) and John Shervais (Utah State University) together co-led the pre-conference field trip. Technical editing of this volume was led by Roxanne Renedo (U.S. Geological Survey) with assistance from Margaret Milia (Stanford University). We are grateful to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Hazards Program and the USGS Menlo Park (California) Publishing Service Center for making this online report possible.