Launched in 2003, SAFOD is one of the three major components of the EarthScope programme.
Funded by the National Science Foundation and carried out in collaboration with the USGS, EarthScope aims to apply modern technologies to investigate the structure and evolution of the North American continent and the physical processes controlling earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
It is expected to contribute toward the mitigation of risks from geological hazards.
As far as funding is concerned, SAFOD is the smaller of the three components. The other two are:
The US Array - a system of modern digital seismic arrays which will produce threedimensional images of the North American continental crust and the deeper mantle beneath. It will provide new data on earthquake physics, volcanic processes, coremantle interactions, active deformation and tectonics, continental structure and evolution, geodynamics and crustal fluids.
The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) - a geodetic observatory including GPS (global positioning system) receivers, strainmeters and satellite imagery which will measure and map the smallest movements across faults, the magma movement inside active volcanoes and the areas of deformation associated with plate tectonic motion.