2013-2018 UNAVCO Community Proposal Geodesy Advancing Geosciences and EarthScope: The GAGE Facility

PI Institute/Department Email
Miller, Meghan
Funding Agency
Program Manager Funding Agency Email
Kelz, Dr. Russell
NSF, Earth Sciences
Geological Sciences
Science Summary

The GAGE Facility: Geodesy Advancing Geosciences and EarthScope Cooperative Agreement (CA) supports advancement of cutting-edge community geodetic research around the world. Over the last two decades, space-based geodetic observations have enabled measurement of the motions of the Earth's surface and crust at many different scales, with unprecedented spatial and temporal detail and increased precision, leading to fundamental discoveries in continental deformation, plate boundary processes, the earthquake cycle, the geometry and dynamics of magmatic systems, continental groundwater storage and hydrologic loading. Space geodesy furthers research on earthquake and tsunami hazards, volcanic eruptions, coastal subsidence, wetlands health, soil moisture and groundwater distribution. Of particular importance are contributions to understanding of processes related to climate dynamics, including hurricane tracking and intensity, sea level rise, and changes in mountain glaciers and large polar ice sheets. As global population disproportionately increases in hazards-prone coastal and tectonically active regions of the US and across the globe, the societal relevance of quantifying, understanding, and potentially mitigating natural hazards grows. Geoscientists using global geodetic infrastructure coupled with leading edge techniques are well poised to advance basic research that is in the U.S. and global public interest as the challenges of living on a dynamic planet escalate. NSF-funded geodesy investigators are active on every continent, across a broad spectrum of the geosciences, and facilitated by data and engineering services that are now merged under the GAGE Facility. GAGE continues operations of: 1) the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), an integrated set of geodetic networks that includes 1100 continuous GPS sites (with ~350 high-rate, low-latency data streams and ~125 surface meteorological sensors), 78 borehole strainmeters and seismometers, and 6 long-baseline laser strainmeters, and tiltmeters on several volcanoes; 2) global engineering and data services primarily to NSF-funded investigators who use terrestrial and satellite geodetic technologies in their research and provision of network operations support to community GPS networks and NASA's Global GNSS Network (GGN); and 3) Education and community outreach activities. NSF's Division of Polar Programs (PLR) contributes to the GAGE Facility support of PI research and GPS networks in Greenland and Antarctica. NASA contributes to the GAGE Facility to support the GGN and the activities of the IGS Central Bureau, which underlie the internationally coordinated reference frame products that make high-precision geodesy possible.

Logistics Summary

This grant continues a Cooperative Agreement under grant 0735156. For the years 2013 – 2018, NSF has guided UNAVCO to integrate all of these activities into a single GAGE Facility: Geodesy Advancing Geosciences and EarthScope. A single Cooperative Agreement will create efficiencies in facility operation, reporting, and sponsor oversight, allowing UNAVCO to meet the needs of a vigorously growing and rapidly diversifying science community despite expected resource constraints. A total of approximately 50 additional telemetered GPS stations with ongoing UNAVCO O&M support are planned under GAGE, GNET and GLISN. UNAVCO also maintains several community dGPS stations at: Summit Station, Utqiagvik (Barrow) Station, Atqasuk field station, Toolik Lake field station in the Arctic and Palmer Station, McMurdo Station, and South Pole Station in the Antarctic. These sites will continue to be maintained under GAGE. For each year of the grant one to two UNAVCO staff members may make a site visit (4-6 days) to Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska to calibrate and maintain the installations and to train on-site staff and researchers as necessary. Staff members may also visit Atqasuk to perform maintenance on the dGPS base station. Staff members may also visit Toolik Field Station if the base station requires technical intervention/maintenance. In 2017 one UNAVCO staff member will visit Utqiagvik (Barrow), and Toolik Field Station, Alaska to calibrate and maintain the installations and to train on-site staff and researchers as necessary. Staff members may also visit Atqasuk to perform maintenance on the dGPS base station. One staff member will travel to Summit Station, Greenland via Kangerlussuaq flying on the Air National Guard to install a second GNSS base station at the TAWO facility and met tower to overlap with the GPS station on the Green House which is to be decommissioned in 2018.

In Greenland, CPS will provide ANG passenger and cargo coordination support, accommodation (KISS) and meals (meal tickets) in Kangerlussuaq, safety equipment, and Summit Station user days. CPS will provide lodging, truck and UIC permits in Utqiagvik (Barrow). UIC Science will maintain the dGPS base station radio and dGPS rover equipment in Barrow. All equipment scheduling will be done by a local UIC Science staff member or CPS staff member, if on site. UNAVCO will cover the cost of training UICS or CPS staff under this grant. The PI will arrange and pay for all other logistics through the grant.

Season Field Site Date In Date Out #People
Greenland - Summit
Greenland - Summit