The Plate Boundary Observatory: Operational Status and Data Plans 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. The science goals of PBO require that plate boundary deformation be adequately characterized over the wide range of spatial and temporal scales common to active continental tectonic processes. PBO will meet these needs using 875 continuous GPS sites, 143 borehole strainmeter stations, and five laser strainmeters, all installed over the next five years. In addition, there will be a pool of 100 portable GPS receivers available for survey-mode observations, and in 2005, we anticipate incorporating 225 existing continuous GPS sites into PBO with funding under the PBO Nucleus proposal. These stations will provide raw observations from which PBO Analysis Centers will create a wide range of derived data products, including time series of strain and GPS station position, GPS velocity vectors, and strainmeter and GPS processing auxiliary information. All PBO data and data products will be made available to the community as rapidly and freely as possible through the PBO Archives and ultimately through the EarthScope Data Access System, part of the EarthScope Portal. PBO began operations in September 2003 and the first five new PBO continuous GPS (CGPS) stations were installed in January 2004. Currently, there are 39 stations installed and collecting data, of which 27 are returning data automatically to PBO Headquarters in Boulder on a daily basis. Data from 14 of these stations are available through the PBO GPS Archives at the UNAVCO Facility in Boulder and the Scripps Orbit and Permanent Array Center in San Diego. We anticipate having a total of 50 CGPS stations installed by the end of September 2004 and an additional 200 CGPS stations installed by the end of September 2005. The first PBO borehole strainmeter installation is expected by early 2005, with a total of 16 stations to be installed by the end of September 2005. The first PBO laser strainmeter will be installed in 2005. We will present an update on the current status of, and future plans for, PBO operations, data collection and analysis, and distribution of PBO data products.

publication date

  • 2004

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