POLARIS is a Canadian geophysical research consortium focused on investigation of structure and dynamics of the Earth's lithosphere and the prediction of earthquake ground motion.

The POLARIS project has received funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for installation of satellite-telemetry arrays of portable geophysical observatories in Canada. The CFI funds are matched by funds from Ontario Innovation Trust, Ontario Challenge Fund, Ontario Power Generation, British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, BC Hydro, BHP Billiton, Manitoba government, Natural Resources Canada and other sources.

Three arrays, each consisting of thirty seismological observatories equipped with Libra VSAT satellite system manufactured by Nanometrics Inc., were originally planned for installation in Canada (Ontario, BC and the NWT), all connected through the Internet to provide live data for research, education and continuous monitoring of earthquakes. Two new arrays in Quebec and Nunavut and one in Nova Scotia were added to the original arrays in 2004 and 2005. Currently, 96 POLARIS observatories are operational in the five arrays.

A group of ten magnetotelluric (MT) field systems permanently co-installed at selected seismograph observatories also provide live data through the Internet for research and education. Five are already installed in the NWT and another five are planned for installation in Ontario. As well, another group of twenty MT field systems constitute a mobile array that will co-locate at the seismograph observatories for a few weeks at a time before being moved to other locations in the seismograph networks.

The management and founding members of POLARIS are leading scientists from Canadian institutions including the University of British Columbia, the University of Western Ontario, Carleton University, Queen's University, the University of Manitoba, University of Alberta, and the Geological Survey of Canada. Researchers from the exploration industry, academia, government and other organizations have already shown interest in the program.

Last modified: May 23, 2006.