2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Geology & Geophysics

Dr. Scott Borg
Program Manager


NSF/OPP EAR-99-03413
Station: McMurdo Station
RPSC POC: Karen Joyce
Research Site(s): McMurdo Station

University NAVSTAR Consortium (UNAVCO) GPS survey support
Mr. Bjorn Johns

Deploying Team Members: Bjorn L Johns . Charles W Kurnik . Shad R O' Neel
Research Objectives: UNAVCO provides year-round support for scientific applications of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to U.S. Antarctic Program, supported and managed by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs. This support includes pre-season planning, field support, and post-season follow-up, as well as development work for supporting new applications. UNAVCO maintains a "satellite" facility at McMurdo Station during the austral summer research season, providing a full range of support services, including geodetic GPS equipment, training, project planning, field support, technical consultation, data processing, and data archiving.

UNAVCO also operates a community differential GPS (DGPS) base station that covers McMurdo Sound and Taylor Valley, provides maintenance support to the MCM4 continuous GPS station as contractual support to the NASA GPS Global Network (GGN), and supports remote continuous GPS stations for scientific investigations.

Using GPS, vector baselines between receivers separated by 100 kilometers or more are routinely measured to within 1 centimeter (that is, 100 parts per billion). UNAVCO is also able to support researchers who are investigating global, regional, and local crustal motions where maximum accuracy (in the millimeter range) of baseline measurement is required. GPS measurements using portable equipment can be completed in a few hours or less. Such expediency lends itself to research applications in global plate tectonics, earthquake mechanics, volcano monitoring, and regional tectonics.

Field Season Overview:
Each field season, the UNAVCO team manages the GPS equipment pool and provides technical support to research projects. Project team members will occasionally travel to field sites and assist researchers with GPS operations.

UNAVCO maintains the differential GPS (DGPS) system used in and around McMurdo Station and the Taylor Valley, as well as continuous GPS stations on Mt Erebus. Throughout the season, team members will work in Crary Lab testing, repairing, and staging GPS equipment.