Report from AfricaArray Workshop 13-14 July 2006

AA group photo


On Thursday and Friday 13-14 July, 2006, with financial support from the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), and the National Science Foundation (USA), AfricaArray organised its first scientific workshop in Johannesburg at the School of Geosciences, Wits University. The workshop was attended by 75 delegates including students from Wits and Penn State Universities.

The AfricaArray workshop at Wits was convened with the following aims in mind:

The 2-day workshop was preceded by a 1 day workshop at the Council for Geoscience in Pretoria to discuss the establishment of an Indian Ocean Tsunami early warning system along the east African seaboard. Both these workshops were organised in tandem, and arrangements were made for delegates that had been invited to the AfricaArray workshop to also attend the Tsunami workshop and vice versa.

More than 20 countries from a wide variety of organisations with interests in geophysics training and research were represented at the AfricaArray workshop as follows:

A full list of delegates is included below.

The first AA newsletter was prepared for the meeting and has been included with this report. This newsletter provides an update of AA activities to date.

AfricaArray in brief

AfricaArray is a pan-African initiative to promote geophysical research and capacity building, and was launched as a long-term (10 year) programme in July 2004 by the University of the Witwatersrand, the Council for Geoscience and Penn State University, USA. The programme was officially started on 1 January 2005, with the geophysics honours programme at Wits University, and the allocation of 11 seismic stations of the SA national seismic network to the AA network by the Council for Geoscience. The primary goal of AfricaArray is to address the problem of limited human capacity in Africa in geosciences with a special focus on geophysics. AfricaArray is an intervention designed to strengthen geophysics education and research programmes in the region and help build an Africa-to-Africa training and research support system. Training and research programmes will be linked to the establishment of geophysical observational networks that can be used in support of scientific and applied project work. More details on AfricaArray are provided on:

Report of activities

The workshop agenda is given below:

Thursday. July 13, 2006
9:00 - 9:15am Welcome and opening remarks
9:15 - 9:45 Andy Nyblade: review of AA research and network activities
9:45-10:15 Paul Dirks: review of AA educational activities
10:15-10:30 Questions and answers
10:30-11:00 Tea break

Business meeting

  1. Review current AfricaArray organizational structure and history
  2. Review the needs for formalizing a legal/financial/student/reporting structures
  3. Present a new consortium model for AfricaArray
  4. Discussion
12:30-2:00pm Lunch
2:00-2:45 Alan Jones: Keynote address on SAMTEX and AfricaArray
2:45-3:05 Martin Brandt: Upper mantle structure beneath S.Africa for modeling regional seismic waves
3:05-3:25 Damien Delvaux: Tectonic setting of the recent earthquakes in eastern Tanzania
3:25-3:45 Andrzej Kijko: Contribution of the SANSN to AfricaArray
3:45-4:15 Tea break
4:15-4:30 Atalay Ayele: 2005 magmato-tectonic activity in Afar, Ethiopia
4:30-4:45 Daniel Lombe: The Zambian Seismic network and AfricaArray
4:45-5:00 Jane Gore: AfricaArray activities in Zimbabwe
5:00-5:15 Report of proceedings from the July 12 meeting at the Council for Geoscience on the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System
5:15-6:00 Poster Session

Friday, July 14, 2006

9:00-9:40am Ray Durrheim: Keynote address on mine seismology
9:40-10:00 Eldridge Kgaswane: Crustal and upper mantle studies of the Kaapvaal Craton and surrounding regions
10:00-10:30 Berd Schurr: CTBTO presentation
10:30-11:00 Tea break
11:00-11:15 Student report from the AfricaArray field course
11:15-11:30 Mark Hamilton: Preliminary MT results for lithospheric structure in southern Africa
11:30-11:45 Shawn Letts: Paleomagnetism of the Bushveld Complex
11:45-11:55 GeoForschungsZentrum presentation
11:55-12:05 Steve Coomber: Imaging Wits Basin structure using GOCAD
12:05-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:00pm Additional talks on national networks: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda
3:00- 3:30 AfricaArray e-education initiative
3:30-4:00 Tea break
4:00-5:30 Business meeting - approval of new AfricaArray organizational structure

A summary of all talks is available on CD which will be sent to delegates.

What follows are comments on the business meetings, observations made and resolutions reached.

Report of AfricaArray business meeting

The Aims for the business meeting were defined as:

The existing organizational structure of AfricaArray is as follows:

From consensus reached during July 2004 workshop (Johannesburg, SA) it was decided that:

Subsequent additions to the AfricaArray structure include:

Funding: AA is currently funded through research proposals led by participating Principal Investigators. The following parameters guide this structure:

The explicit aim of AA is to: “Increase the pool of knowledge in Geophysics in Africa”. With this purpose in mind a more rigorous AfricaArray management structure is proposed bearing in mind that:

Two general management models were presented, each making the underlying assumption that the AA structure will be based in South Africa:

The option of a section 21 company was quickly discarded on the grounds that:

Thus, it was proposed that a centre be established based at Wits university, and that the model presented below be used as a guideline in drawing up founding documents.

In discussing this model a number of concerns were raised and suggestions made specifically can control of the founding partners be limited so that they will not enjoy majority in the Board

The various suggestions and comments were made within the context of lively debate. On Day 2 the business meeting was continued and proposals for the establishment of an e-learning course were discussed. These proposals were very positively received and there was a general expression of willingness to participate in the establishment of a comprehensive e-learning course.

At the end of the business meeting on day two, the proposed establishment of an AfricaArray structure was endorsed and Dirks and Nyblade were given the go ahead to move ahead in developing a legal entity. Everyone was invited to put any further comments or suggestions in writing to Dirks/Nyblade.

Brief Summary of country presentations

Company/University/ Organization First name Surname  
To be completed by AA staff