Module authorship and development info here
Understanding how the Earth's crust deforms is crucial in a variety of geoscience disciplines, including structural geology, tectonics, and hazards assessment (earthquake, volcano, landslide). With the installation of numerous high precision Global Positioning System (GPS) stations, our ability to measure how this deformation (strain) occurs has increased dramatically. Despite its importance to cutting edge geoscience research, GPS data is only rarely investigated in undergraduate courses. Most structural geology courses only cover finite strain (generally through the analysis of deformed fossils), missing the rich opportunity to investigate ongoing strain (infinitesimal strain) now measurable through methods such as GPS. This module introduces geoscience majors to using Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) GPS data in order to study infinitesimal strain and connect it to broader tectonic settings and hazards.
This module was designed for and tested in structural geology courses. However elements of it can also be successfully used in geophysics or tectonics courses or possibly even a physics course seeking practical applications.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students should be familiar with using Excel or Matlab and should already have had an introduction to the concept of strain.
How the module is situated in the course
Elements from the module can be used as a single lab activity or extend over several weeks of a course and culminate in research projects/presentations by the students.
Students are able to access and analyze GPS data in order to calculate and interpret ongoing strain in the region between three neighboring GPS stations.
About module development team
Questions or comments? Please contact ece AT unavco.org
Last modified Friday, 10-May-2013 22:48:26 UTC