The metaphor of a “slippery slope” is often invoked for things that might quickly get out of control, but in glaciology these words can be applied more literally. In a warming world, we want to know how quickly ice sheets can melt and raise sea level. If melting ice lubricates the base and speeds up ice flow, losses could accelerate.
GPS/GNSS stations also record the gradual strain that accumulates along a fault until it slips again. A new study presents a fresh analysis of that strain in the western United States.
Zion Canyon’s beauty and scale wouldn’t be possible without countless rockfall events that hastened its carving. But now that human infrastructure exists in the park—carrying millions of visitors each year—rockfall presents a significant risk that has to be managed. UNAVCO recently supported a project assessing that risk in two locations in the park.
Italy has experienced several deadly earthquakes in recent years. They all occurred within a complicated fault system that challenges our models for fault behavior. An array of instruments has been deployed across the region to help geoscientists around the world study these faults. And with support from UNAVCO, the latest addition to that array is a number of borehole strainmeters.
There’s another way to approach this problem, and that’s to directly measure the station’s velocity as it moves during an earthquake—which has the advantage of working without relying on external correction information.
Antarctica got a rare treat on December 4—a total solar eclipse. The last time that happened was 2003, and we’ll be waiting until 2039 for the next one. This wasn’t just an opportunity for lucky viewers, though. An eclipse near the pole is also an exciting opportunity for science.
UNAVCO recently wrapped up a two-year project upgrading and installing geodetic stations to better serve the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System, but the work contributing to ShakeAlert is far from over. As a result of a new interagency agreement with the National Science Foundation and the United States Geological Survey, UNAVCO will build and operate the new geodetic data architecture of ShakeAlert.
The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system is much more than the alert message on your phone. Detecting earthquakes, characterizing them, and determining the appropriate warning area takes a tremendous amount of infrastructure. With the completion of a recent Cooperative Agreement with the USGS, UNAVCO has improved West Coast geodetic infrastructure so it can be fully integrated into ShakeAlert.
On August 14, a devastating magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Nippes, Haiti, causing thousands of deaths and widespread damage to homes, churches, schools, and other infrastructure. In the midst of this humanitarian crisis, geoscientists are working to understand exactly what happened on the fault (or faults) responsible—which is critical to understanding future risk.
This is one post in a series on the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment blog following a field campaign in response to the magnitude 8.2 Chignik earthquake. (You can find the UNAVCO event response page for this earthquake here.) We are reprinting posts contributed by UNAVCO staff here but you can follow along on the blog to read the rest. This post comes from UNAVCO Project Manager Ken Austin.