Geological sciences researchers at Virginia Tech are using GPS antennas to measure aquifer use and storage capacity. At the Geological Society of Americas 114th annual meeting in Denver, Oct. 27-30, masters degree student Sandra Warner will make the case for the broader coverage of such tools.
Warner and Virginia Tech geological sciences professor Thomas Burbey are conducting a large-scale aquifer test on a new municipal well in the Virgin River Valley near Mesquite, Nev. In addition to the monitoring wells that traditionally surround a pump site, the researchers are using 10 GPS antenna as a new way to measure land subsidence. They also hope to incorporate data from a remote-sensing radar satellite that measures land change.
Traditionally, how much water is in an aquifer is determined by how much the water sinks vertically as it is used. Warner is determining how capacity changes horizontally as well as vertically. As aquifers are emptied, there is shifting to fill the areas emptied of water. The newest GPS antennas will make it possible to measure land subsidence with millimeter accuracy.
Sandra McCarthy Warner | EurekAlert!
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