Thanks to extensive GPS measurements and analyses by TU Delft and its scientific partners, unique images showing the development of the earthquake on 26 December 2004 in South East Asia have been created. This is the first time that a quake of such magnitude has been recorded and made visible using GPS. Today, Thursday 14 July 2005, an article on this subject will be published in the scientific journal Nature.
In the past few years, working together with French, Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai researchers and scientists, the Delft Institute of Earth Observation and Space Systems (DEOS) of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft, has established an extensive network of about 45 scientific GPS stations in South East Asia. These stations play an important role in the research done in the SEAMERGES (South East Asia: Mastering Environmental Research with GEodetic Space techniques) project. SEAMERGES is a cooperative research project between universities in the European Union and the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).
GPS, currently well known for its use in navigation systems, can also be used to accurately measure movement and deformation of the tectonic plates. To achieve this, the Delft researchers use a special, highly accurate geodetic version of the standard GPS method. The unique GPS measurements in South East Asia collected by the SEAMERGES project enabled the scientists to compute the size and direction of the deformations resulting from the earthquake on 26 December 2004 with an accuracy of a few millimetres.
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