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UNAVCO 1996 Annual Report
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B.3 Support for Campaigns

Boulder Facility support for episodic GPS data collection, called campaigns, includes budget development, survey strategy planning, financial management, site reconnaissance, monument installation, reference surveys, in-field data collection, logistical and technical support, shipping, operator and agent training, equipment repair, data management and archiving, and overall project management. Field engineering support to campaigns has decreased in the last several years due to increased investigator training efforts, limited engineer resources, and increasing ease of equipment operation. Only three requests for field support for campaigns were supported in FY97, two for large international GPS projects and one from a new user. A brief summary of the support provided to each project is provided below.

Eastern Mediterranean Project (EAR-Geophysics)

Crustal velocity estimates for the period 1988 - 1997 are providing constraints on the kinematics of crustal deformation in the Arabia-Africa-Eurasia continental collision zone, and accordingly on the rheology of the continental lithosphere and the forces responsible for active deformation (see associated 1996 Science Snapshot)[8]. The UNAVCO Boulder Facility has supported six campaigns in the Mediterranean region since 1988, including a seven week campaign and two continuous station installations in late 1996 (early FY97). The project consisted of large field campaigns in Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Egypt, Armenia, Israel, and Bulgaria with approximately 500 site days of data collection. Twenty-three receivers from the UNAVCO pool were used along with nine from collaborators in Bulgaria, Turkey, and Russia. The UNAVCO field engineer oversaw general planning and all field operations based out of Georgia. A more detailed discussion is included in the FY96 Annual Report.

Peatland Bogs (DEB - Ecosystems)

In January 1997, Dr. Paul Glaser (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus) contacted the Facility via the UNAVCO Home Page. He was seeking technical assistance for a GPS survey in northwestern Minnesota. The GPS data will be used to construct a digital elevation model (DEM) for a 7,000 km2 field area that is largely covered by peatlands. These data will be used to calibrate a regional groundwater model, to serve as both an integrative and predictive tool to represent the physical and chemical processes that control carbon fluxes in these peatlands. During the project planning, the investigators realized that GPS offered a unique opportunity to monitor the episodic emissions of biogenic gases from peat deposits. These episodic emissions are impossible to monitor by conventional methods because the remote study sites are accessible only by helicopter.

From discussions with UNAVCO staff, a survey strategy was developed to use six GPS receivers, three at fixed sites and three as mobile units, with campaigns once per month from June through September. The three fixed stations (Figure B-1) record daily fluctuations in the elevation of the peat surface and are located near existing instrumentation which records daily fluctuations in depth profiles of pore pressure, conductivity and temperature. A daily record of elevational changes will provide a tremendous boost for detecting the periodicity and environmental controls on carbon emissions from large peatlands. Oivind Ruud, a UNAVCO field engineer, was assigned to the project and provided project planning support, one week of field support in June, and ongoing technical consultation. Oivind trained the investigators in the field in all aspects of GPS data collection including basic receiver operation, tripod setup, data downloading, and data processing and analysis. Oivind also supported the initial installation and remote data retrieval from the three continuous stations.

Figure B-1. "Permanent" Station Monumentation on a Tree Stump in Peatland Bogs by Paul Glaser.

Due to the exciting preliminary research results, the investigators requested an extended loan for the three continuously recording receivers, which UNAVCO was able to grant until the summer of 1998. The receivers will be downloaded remotely via cellular phones and modems to the University of Minnesota campus. Oivind has provided consulting support on technical requirements and ancillary equipment purchases necessary to configure the receivers for long term, winter operation. He made a one week trip in September to assist with re-configuration of the systems for continuous operation and automated data communications.

Tien Shan - China (EAR - Continental Dynamics, Instrumentation and Facilities)

The Tien Shan- China project was scheduled to receive over two months of in-field engineer support and four Trimble SSi receivers for a three month 30 site episodic campaign. Difficulty with obtaining the necessary clearance from Chinese collaborators caused delays in the project until late July, when notification was received that clearance to collect GPS data in China was denied. UNAVCO field engineer, George Liu, was made available from May to July for project planning, logistical support, and technical consultation while awaiting commencement of the in-field portion of the project. Future support for this project will be re-scheduled when the necessary clearance has been obtained.


[8] UNAVCO Science Snapshots can be found at www.unavco.org.


1997 Annual Report - 27 OCT 1997

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