MAGNET GPS Station - Photo by Geoff Blewitt

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Latest News

[November 18, 2014] New Global Strain Rate Model published in G-cubed.

The cover of this month's issue of G-cubed shows this figure with contours of the second invariant of strain rate from the new Global Strain Rate Model (v. 2.1). The model is based on 22,415 horizontal geodetic velocities, 6705 of which were determined by the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory, the rest are from the literature. Non-linear color scale is saturated at high values. White areas were assumed to be rigid plates and no strain rates were calculated there. Instead, the rigid body rotation of these plates was imposed as boundary conditions when solving for plate boundary strain rates.

Kreemer, C., G. Blewitt, E.C. Klein, 2014, A geodetic plate motion and Global Strain Rate Model, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 15, 3849-3889, doi:10.1002/2014GC005407.

Links to:
Online version
Files of Interest

[October 14, 2014] Geoff Blewitt Honored with Vening Meinesz Medal

Geoff has been awarded the Vening Meinesz Medal for 2015. The medal was established by the European Geosciences Union Division of Geodesy and is the highest award offered in Europe that recognizes distinguished research in Geodesy. The official announcement of the medal recipients was posted on October 13, 2014. A description of the medal and a list of past recipients is given here.

Congratulations Geoff!!

[October 10, 2014] Bill Hammond Elected Secretary of AGU Geodesy Section

Bill will serve a two year term as Secretary. See The AGU Elections Page for this year's results.

[August 25, 2014, 4pm PDT] M6.1 American Canyon earthquake seen in next day rapid GPS results

On August 24, 2014 at 3:20 am Pacific time a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck the northern San Francisco Bay Area, near American Canyon and Napa California. By the next day, August 25 at 9:00 am we had estimated coseismic displacements, i.e. the amount the earth permanently shifted during the earthquake. Because continuously recording GPS stations are located on both sides of the fault these measurements can help to quickly identify which fault slipped, providing an independent corrobortion that it was likely the West Napa Fault Zone that activated during the earthquake.

See the NGL low-latency earthquake geodesy page for this event for more information.

Pacific Plate

[August 15, 2014] Paper published by Corné Kreemer in Geology

Plate tectonics is one of the universal theories in Earth science that people have learned about in school. We challenge here a fundamental part of this theory: that the plates are rigid. Plate rigidity is plate tectonics' central approximation and gives the theory its rigor and predictive power. This study predicts and quantifies significant deformation within the young parts of the Pacific plate by assuming that the plate must contract horizontally due to the cooling of the plate as it moves away from its adjacent spreading centers. Thus one cannot assume that parts of the plate near the Pacific-Antarctic spreading center move rigidly with parts off the coast of California. Estimates of the relative motion between the Pacific and North America from sea-floor data in the south Pacific and Atlantic oceans differs by 5 mm/yr from direct observations, and this study can explain about half of this difference (the remainder may come from deformation of the oceanic parts of other plates). We find that the implied deformation in the Pacific plate has the same spatial distribution as the locations of earthquakes, which suggests that thermal contraction is (at least, partly) released seismically and improves our understanding of the cause of those enigmatic earthquakes.

Link to the Kreemer and Gordon, 2014 article: here.

Pacific Plate

[May 14, 2014] Human-Induced Uplift of the Sierra Nevada in Nature

The Nevada Geodetic Laboratory has collaborated with scientists at Western Washington University, U.C. Berkeley and the University of Ottowa to publish a study on human-induced rise of the Sierra Nevada in Southern California. Uplift of 1-3 mm/yr can be attributed to elastic rebound following massive pumping of groundwater in the southern Great Valley. The unburdening flexes the lithosphere and helps explain observed trends and annual variations in seismicity on portions of the San Andreas Fault.

The article (Amos et al., 2014) was published in the journal Nature and is also discussed in a News and Views piece Fertile Fields for Seismicity by Paul Lundgren of JPL.

The detailed analyses is part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research project awarded to Blewitt and Hammond.

[April 21, 2014] Bill Hammond receives the 2013 Editor's Choice Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for his service to the Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth.

Congrats, Bill! See page 5 of the Eos article.

[March, 9 2014] The Ferndale, California offshore earthquake permanently displaced the coast by as much as ~15 mm to the east.

Though the event occurred nearly 80 km west of the coast, rapidly processed GPS solutions with 5 minutes sample interval show significant displacement at EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory stations P159, P160, P161, P162. The plots below show changes in position of the GPS stations from this strike slip event.
Similar plots for P161, P160, and P159 (click to enlarge):

More information at the NGL station pages for: P159, P160, P161, P162.

1 Hz displacements are shown in the analysis by Rongxin Fang (visiting scholar at NGL) for stations P058, P159, P160, P161, P169, using the PANDA software. In this analysis satelllite orbits and clocks are estimated in simulated real-time. Permanent offsets are visible within about 5 minutes of the event time (shown with red dashed line):
More information about this earthquake is available from the USGS. Original data are available from: UNAVCO, Inc.. GPS data processing at NGL is supported NASA and the NSF. See our Acknowledgements page.

[December, 2013] We have developed a new North America plate fixed terrestrial reference frame for geodetic studies of crustal deformation.

The paper, published by Geoff Blewitt in the Journal of Geodynamics, can be obtained at here, or downloaded from our ftp server .

[September 23, 2013] Geoff Blewitt gives seminar on space geodetic constraints on US west coast vertical land motion and sea level rise.

Click here to download the presentation (in .pdf format).

[May 5, 2013] Corné Kreemer nominated as EarthScope Series Speaker.

EarthScope speakers are selected based on their outstanding research accomplishments involving the NSF EarthScope facility as well as their abilities to engage a variety of audiences. Corné Kreemer will join the ranks of this prestigious group for the 2013-2014 series.

More information on the EarthScope Speaker Series.

[October 16, 2012] Geoffrey Blewitt elected AGU Geodesy Section President.

As President of the Geodesy Section, Professor Blewitt will serve a two year term as President Elect starting January 1, 2013, then 2 years as President. The American Geophysical Union has over 61,000 members from over 146 countries.

See Official AGU Election Results Here

Geoff's Candidate Statement

[September 12, 2012] NGL's work featured as Science Snapshot at UNAVCO's Web page

NGL identified the need for the geodesy community to create a modeling framework that would integrate data archives, data analysis tools, and modeling software and provide access to these elements through a "Geodesy Community Workbench." A poster describing the Geodesy Community Workbench was presented at the recent UNAVCO Science Workshop, and this poster is featured as a Science Snapshot on UNAVCO's Web page. Read more ...

[July 20, 2012] NGL publishes map of geodetic strain rates in western U.S.

We just published an official NBMG map showing GPS velocities and an associated strain rate model for the Pacific-North American plate boundary, western U.S.

More information can be found here. A free full-size PDF can be found here. It is 40Mb!!

Order full size map for $46

Order reduced size (91%) map for $18

[May 3, 2012] NGL publishes paper on Sierra Nevada uplift

The Sierra Nevada range in California and Nevada is actively uplifing at a rate of 1 to 2 mm/yr. Geodetic measurments based on over 10 years of GPS and InSAR data show that mountain growth can be observed directly, and help show that the Sierra Nevada topography is relatively young in geologic terms.

The results are due to be published in the July, 2012 issue of Geology.

Access the full manuscript,

and read the UNR press release.

Also see stories at San Francisco Chronicle,, and Yahoo.

[April 24, 2012] NASA uses NGL technology in GPS earthquake monitoring system

GPS technology developed and implemented at the University of Nevada, Reno will be the centerpiece of a major test this year by NASA to pinpoint the location and magnitude of strong earthquakes along the West Coast of the United States. The project was announced by NASA today.

Read the UNR press release and the NASA story.

[March 15, 2011] Tohoku-Oki Earthquake, Japan M9.0: Geodetic Information

A devastating earthquake struck northeast Japan March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC. NGL has collaborated with NASA and JPL to develop prototype tsunami warning systems based on GPS. MORE about this event HERE.

[January 16, 2011] NGL in Science Magazine News Focus

See AGU Fall Meeting Highlights news focus on Hammond et al. 2010 presentation on Sierra Nevada Uplift in Science, v. 331, p. 143, January 14, 2011 .

[January 15, 2011] Paper on Northern Walker Lane GPS and Block Modeling published:

A new study has been published in the Journal of Geophyscial Research: "Block Modeling of Crustal Deformation of the Northern Walker Lane and Basin and Range from GPS Velocities". Here we have used geodetic and geologic data to evaluate fault slip rates in this zone of complex crustal deformation. See Hammond et al., 2011 article in press.

[December 1, 2010] Corné Kreemer wins AGU Award:

Group member Corné Kreemer has won the 2010 Geodesy Section Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The Award is given each year to an AGU member under the age of 40 who shows the potential to become an AGU Fellow in the future. The Award is given in recognition of major advances in geodesy, and CornĂ© was particularly honored for his work on the Global Strain Rate Map. A UNR article about CornĂ© and his award can be found here.

[November 10, 2010] National Academies Report on Precise Geodetic Infrastructure published:

A National Academies Report has been published, co-authored by Geoff Blewitt of NGL:

Recognizing the growing reliance of a wide range of scientific and societal endeavors on infrastructure for precise geodesy, and recognizing geodetic infrastructure as a shared national resource, this book provides an independent assessment of the benefits provided by geodetic observations and networks, as well as a plan for the future development and support of the infrastructure needed to meet the demand for increasingly greater precision. Precise Geodetic Infrastructure makes a series of focused recommendations for upgrading and improving specific elements of the infrastructure, for enhancing the role of the United States in international geodetic services, for evaluating the requirements for a geodetic workforce for the coming decades, and for providing national coordination and advocacy for the various agencies and organizations that contribute to the geodetic infrastructure.

Reference: Minster, J.B., Z. Altamimi, G. Blewitt, W.E. Carter, A. Cazenave, H. Dragert, T.A. Herring, K.M. Larson, J.C. Ries, D.T. Sandwell, J.M. Wahr, and J.L. Davis (2010). Precise Geodetic Infrastructure: National Requirements for a Shared Resource, 142 pp. The National Academies Press, ISBN-10:0-309-15811-7, ISBN-13: 978-0-309-15811-4.

University of Nevada, Reno

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