The Project Description portion of the proposal submitted to and awarded for funding by the National Science Foundation (Geoscience Directorate, Ocean Sciences Division, Marine Geology & Geophysics Program) is included here. The NSF maintains strictly enforced guidelines regarding organization, length and focus (see Grant Proposal Guide.) Hence in places the text is somewhat technical. It has to be - it was written for anonymous peer reviewers (we had 8 in all) plus a panel of 6 additional scientists called to the NSF headquaters to evaluate the proposal and the peer reviewers' comments in comparison to the roughly 250 other proposals submitted to the MG&G program at its twice-per-year submission date.