The Plate Boundary Observatory: Data Management Progress and Highlights Abstract


  • The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), part of the NSF-funded EarthScope project, is designed to study the three- dimensional strain field resulting from deformation across the active boundary zone between the Pacific and North American plates in the western United States. To meet these goals, UNAVCO will install 880 continuous GPS stations, 103 borehole strainmeter stations, 28 tiltmeters, and five laser strainmeters by October 2008, as well as manage data for 209 previously existing continuous GPS stations and one laser strainmeter through the PBO Nucleus project and 11 GPS stations installed by the USArray segment of EarthScope. As of 1 September 2007, UNAVCO had completed 680 PBO GPS stations and had upgraded 89% of the planned PBO Nucleus stations. Most of these stations return data to the UNAVCO Boulder Network Operations Center (NOC) on a daily basis, with about 40 stations returning data on an hourly basis. Overall, the combined PBO and Nucleus network has now provided almost 350 GB of raw standard rate data, which are routinely processed by the PBO GPS Analysis Centers, at Central Washington University and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the PBO GPS Analysis Center Coordinator at MIT. These groups create a range of GPS products, including station position time series, GPS velocity vectors, and related information. As of September 2007, these centers processed data on a daily basis from about 920 stations; typical position uncertainties are under 1.5 mm horizontally and 4 mm vertically. All PBO GPS data products are archived at and available from the UNAVCO Facility, with a second archive at the IRIS Data Management Center (DMC). All these products may be accessed via the PBO web page at As part of PBO, UNAVCO will also install and operate the largest borehole seismic and strainmeter networks in North America, as well as tiltmeters and laser strainmeters. As of September 2007, 41 PBO borehole stations had been installed and three laser strainmeter stations were operating. Seismic data flow in real time to the Boulder NOC for initial quality checks, and then to the IRIS DMC for final quality checks, archiving, and distribution; all PBO seismic data flow is via the Antelope software suite. Strainmeter data flow hourly and daily to the Boulder NOC and then to the Borehole Strainmeter Analysis Center in Socorro, New Mexico, and the Laser Strainmeter Analysis Center at the University of California, San Diego. These groups transform the raw strainmeter observations into cleaned individual strain gauge components; time series of shear, areal, and linear strain; and related products. All strainmeter data products are archived at and available from the Northern California Earthquake Data Center and the IRIS DMC, in both the native raw formats and SEED format; all seismic data products are archived at and available from the IRIS DMC, in SEED format. By September 2007, the PBO seismic network had provided more than 200 GB of raw data, and the PBO strainmeter network had provided almost 100 GB of raw data. Please visit for more information on data products from the PBO strainmeter and seismic networks.

publication date

  • 2007

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