Measuring Plate Tectonic Motions with GPS


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How do we know that the tectonic plates are moving?


This animation, with a focus on the Western United States, was created by UNAVCO to show how high-precision GPS networks help us understand plate tectonic motions and earthquake hazards around the world. Developed for the Geodesy Tools for Societal Issues (GETSI) project with funding from the National Science Foundation.

To download this animation please visit UNAVCO's and look for "Measuring Plate Tectonic Motions with GPS": UNAVCO Animations


Why use GPS?

  • GPS can measure plate motions as small as 1 or 2 mm per year
  • GPS can give us a detailed understanding of how tectonic plates deform
  • Using GPS, we can learn how strike-slip, convergent, and divergent regions deform
  • By studying deformation we can understand the associated earthquake hazards

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