Since its beginnings in 2004, AfricaArray has successfully completed the first of four phases of development.
Among its significant milestones are:
- Expansion of the University of the Witwatersrand’s traditional geophysics field trip into a three-week international geophysics field course open to students from across the continent and beyond. From 2006-2008, the field school trained 42 students from 12 African countries and the U.S. in the practical application of a variety of geophysical methods.
- Rebuilding of the geophysics programme at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) through:
- Addition of a research chair in seismology and hiring of dedicated IT and geophysics technicians.
- Purchase of computers and seismic equipment, notably a 48-channel seismograph and several broadband seismometers.
- Expansion of the teaching curriculum with external experts affiliated with the AfricaArray programme.
- Building a scientific network in Africa through sharing of data, research and educational programmes. This network of many universities, government institutions and companies in Africa also collaborates with multiple organizations including multinational corporations outside of Africa.
- Support of dozens of geosciences undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scientists at universities in Africa, the U.S. and Europe. Since 2005, 35 B.Sc honors, 13 M.Sc. and 10 Ph.D. students as well as five postdocs have participated in the AfricaArray programme.
- Initiation of a “sandwich” programme to enable Masters and Doctoral students at Wits and other African universities to spend up to six months each year studying and conducting research with a professor at an affiliated university in the U.S. or Europe.
- Establishment of an observatory network consisting of 30 broadband seismic stations in 14 countries.
- Raising $10 million through grants, contracts and in-kind support.
- Start-up of several critical research projects including:
- Imaging lithospheric structures across Angola through seismic data from earthquakes (funded by BHP Billiton, De Beers and Rio Tinto).
- Imaging the crust and mantle structure beneath eastern and southern Africa to improve understanding of the African Superplume (funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the South African National Research Foundation).
- Investigating mine-related seismicity from three deep gold mines in South Africa (funded by National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy).
- Recognition by high-ranking government officials including:
- Mining Ministers, African Union; Cape Town Indaba, February 2006.
- Minister, Department of Minerals and Energy, South Africa; July 2006.
- Dr. Arden L. Bement, director, National Science Foundation; June 2005 (http://africaarray.psu.edu/publications/bement.pdf).
- Establishment of a Diversity Development Programme between Penn State, North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT) and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the U.S. to promote geosciences education (funded by the NSF "Partnerships for International Research and Education" and "Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences" programmes).