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Earth Surface & Interior

In the last two decades rapid growth has occurred in the use of Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Global Positioning System (GPS) measurement of Earth surface deformations. These improvements have been driven, in part, by the proliferation of high precision space geodetic instrumentation. The latest example of an enormous surge in infrastructure is the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory, with ~900 GPS sites, and thousands of radar scenes, acquired for the western U.S. GPS and InSAR systems have different and complementary strengths in terms of spatial and temporal resolution. InSAR provides high spatial resolution at low temporal resolution, while GPS provides measurements of three-dimensional surface position with high temporal resolution but limited spatial resolution. Present weaknesses of InSAR are 1) susceptibility to contamination by atmospheric signals, 2) ambiguity in horizontal vs. vertical motion, 3) low temporal resolution limited by orbit repeat time. Integrating GPS with InSAR measurement can mitigate each of these limitations. We will develop analytical methods for the integration of large and complementary GPS and InSAR datasets in plate boundary zones that exhibit active crustal deformation. Our primary case study is the western Great Basin of the U.S., where coverage with GPS and InSAR is dense. This area is an ideal natural laboratory because of the variety of geophysical deformations (e.g. distributed interseismic, postseismic, magmatic) and because the arid environment is favorable for observations from both InSAR and GPS space geodetic systems. Providing algorithms for the operational combination of InSAR and GPS measurements into three-dimensional time-dependent surface motion images will ensure that the pace of geodetically driven discovery in Earth science can continue. It will also improve exploitation of the current and future InSAR missions, particularly the DESDynI mission developed by NASA as a fourth component of EarthScope.

Project PI: William Hammond/University of Nevada, Reno

Email: whammond@unr.edu

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Started: Aug 09, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 09, 2010

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