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 Atmospheric scientists reveal the effect of sea-ice loss on Arctic warming
11.03.2019 | Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

nachricht Sensing shakes
11.03.2019 | University of Tokyo

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

Im Focus: A thermo-sensor for magnetic bits

New concept for energy-efficient data processing technology

Scientists of the Department of Physics at the University of Hamburg, Germany, detected the magnetic states of atoms on a surface using only heat. The...

Im Focus: The moiré patterns of three layers change the electronic properties of graphene

Combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle changes their electrical properties. Physicists at the University of Basel have now shown for the first time the combination with a third layer can result in new material properties also in a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride. This significantly increases the number of potential synthetic materials, report the researchers in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Last year, researchers in the US caused a big stir when they showed that rotating two stacked graphene layers by a “magical” angle of 1.1 degrees turns...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers measure near-perfect performance in low-cost semiconductors

18.03.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Nanocrystal 'factory' could revolutionize quantum dot manufacturing

18.03.2019 | Materials Sciences

Long-distance quantum information exchange -- success at the nanoscale

18.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>