Development of an Inexpensive Continuous GPS System for Remote Monitoring of Volcano Deformation
This grant provides partial support to acquire continuously-monitoring GPS units that will be installed on Sierra Negra volcano in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. Several technological breakthroughs now enable the deployment of a continuous monitoring, high-precision GPS network in a remote setting at reasonable cost. The network to be developed in this proposal will comprise four single frequency GPS instruments with two dual frequency instruments, one of which will serve as a base station. Data will be continually streamed from the single frequency receivers to the base via radiomodem, where it will then be relayed in near real time via VSAT to UNAVCO in Boulder. The data will then be available via ftp to the principal investigator at the University of Idaho for processing. The network will be deployed on Sierra Negra volcano in the Galapagos archipelago. Sierra Negra has been chosen for a variety of reasons. First, satellite interferometry indicates that Sierra Negra is currently experiencing some of the fastest uplift rates of any volcano on the planet, on order of 50 cm/y. Second, the remote location of the Galapagos provides a robust test for deployment and operation of such a system, to demonstrate that it can be used to monitor virtually any volcano in this hemisphere. Although the archipelago is remote, Sierra Negra is relatively accessible, the PI has a great deal of logistical experience there, and the project will be supported by the Charles Darwin Research Station. Third, there are several projects currently being undertaken with the goal of understanding deformation of Sierra Negra's caldera (annual campaign GPS, fracture mapping, and monthly INSAR measurements). These are expected to dramatically increase our understanding of the uplift at Sierra Negra, and the deformation processes leading to caldera formation in general.