Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

GPS technology aids earthquake research

08.11.2002


Scientists’ understanding of the movement of the Earth’s crust is being helped by new observing facility which is taking measurements that may one day help predict earthquakes.



Newcastle University’s School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences has become only one of two UK centres feeding Global Positioning System (GPS) data into the International GPS Service (IGS), which researchers and professionals throughout the world – including geophysicists - can access via the Internet. The other centre is the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Herstmonceux, East Sussex.

The data is collected via a GPS station 20 miles north of the city, at the University’s farm, Cockle Park, in Morpeth, Northumberland, which had to meet stringent IGS standards. The distances between a circular antenna and and the GPS satellites above are measured every 15 seconds. The antenna, which is 40cm across and 15cm high, is firmly fixed in a 4.5 tonne slab of 300 million year old sandstone from Yorkshire, which is in turn embedded almost three metres into the earth.


The information is automatically downloaded hourly into a computer which quickly checks the data for accuracy before transmitting it to the IGS. Over 200 sites across the world are transmitting data on a regular basis with the Newcastle antenna being the most north westerly in Europe.

The antenna gives more accurate measurements than the average GPS system because it is very stable, being firmly embedded into the earth. It will be able to gauge movements in the Earth’s crust in the North East of England, as when the Earth moves, the antenna moves with it - causing the measurements between it and the satellites to alter.

The highly accurate data could also help meteorological forecasts for the North East.

Distances between the antenna and the GPS satellites appear longer when there is water vapour in the atmosphere, as it can take a greater period of time for signals to be transmitted. These measurements can be used to compile weather forecasts.

Surveyors and other professionals taking less accurate GPS measurements in the field are likely to use this as a reference point against which they can check their own data. It is already being used in a number of university research projects involving GPS, such as the monitoring of North Sea oil platform subsidence.

Researcher Matt King said: “The recent earthquakes in Manchester and Italy have highlighted our need to better understand the movement of the Earth`s crust in England. Experience in California has shown that GPS measurements can make a valuable contribution to this understanding.

“The near real-time transmission of the data may also mean better weather forecasts for the region.

Dr King added: “The data submitted to the IGS is used to define the fundamental reference frame on which all modern survey measurements are based. Consequently, anyone making use of surveying or mapping products, such as Ordnance Survey maps, will benefit from this new project.”

Claire Jordan | alfa
Further information:
http://igscb.jpl.nasa.gov/
http://www.ceg.ncl.ac.uk/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

nachricht Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
20.10.2017 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>