Written by Mike Fend
25 June 2014
Determining how the Caribbean plate moves with respect to the neighboring North America and South America plates has been a major challenge. Geologic plate motion models using seafloor magnetic anomaly rates, transform fault azimuths, and slip vectors are challenging due to sparse data. The only rates come from the Cayman Spreading Center, and seismicity at the eastern boundary is low due to slow convergence. Moreover, the boundary geometry is still unclear, since the Caribbean plate's north and south boundaries are complex deformation zones.
GPS data continue to provide key clues to the Caribbean region’s geologic faults. GPS stations are currently being installed as part of the Continuously Operating Caribbean GPS Observational Network (COCONet), strengthening the indispensible collection of data belonging to a region that faces many atmospheric and geologic natural hazards.
UNAVCO engineer Michael Fend, in collaboration with Fausto Ramirez and Oscar Meza of the Honduras Instituto de la Propiedad and Luis Eveline of the Universidad Politécnica de Ingeniería de Honduras (UPI), installed CN21 in San Lorenzo, Honduras. Four engineering students from the UPI also participated in the installation, to learn about cGPS. The team installed site CN21 on the roof of the San Lorenzo Port Authority building.
After the installation of CN21, Michael Fend and Luis Eveline finalized logistics for another COCONet cGPS site to be installed on Swan Island, Honduras, in June.
The COCONet project was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the aim of developing a large-scale geodetic and atmospheric infrastructure in the Caribbean that will form the backbone for a broad range of geoscience and atmospheric investigations and enable research on process-oriented science questions with direct relevance to geohazards. The Caribbean Plate is a unique opportunity to monitor movement, because most of the plate rests underwater. Prior to this endeavor there has been limited monitoring of the Caribbean Plate. Furthermore, each site is equipped with a weather station which records vital atmospheric data that is analyzed by our friends at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) to monitor the movement of potentially deadly hurricanes.
Last modified: 2020-01-28 22:54:30 America/Denver