Continental margins are the Earth's principal loci for producing hydrocarbon and metal resources, for earthquake, landslide, volcanic and climatic hazards, and for the greatest population density. Despite the societal and economic importance of margins, many of the mechanical, fluid, chemical and biological processes that shape them are poorly understood.

Progress is hindered by the sheer scope of the problems and by the space and time scales as well as the complexities of the processes. To overcome these obstacles, the earth science community has identified the outstanding scientific problems in continental margins research and the MARGINS Program is promoting research strategies that redirect traditional approaches to margin studies. 

The National Science Foundation funds science through a regular MARGINS solicitation, and supports an Office, that changes institutions every few years.  For 2008-2010 the MARGINS Office resides at Lamont Doherty (G. Abers is Chair of the MARGINS Steering Committee).

In-depth information can be found on the MARGINS web site, linked below.