113th Distinguished Research Lecture: Kristine Larson

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Glenn Miller Ballroom, University Memorial Center, CU Boulder

GPS Can't Do That, Can It?

In this talk, Professor Larson will summarize the “traditional” applications of GPS in geosciences as well as the new environmental applications her group has developed.

For many people, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is just one of those gadgets in a smart phone that makes our lives a little easier. Much less known to the general public is the way that GPS has revolutionized the geosciences. 

For decades, models have been able to predict how plate tectonics changes the surface of the Earth, but only with GPS have we been able to accurately measure these changes anywhere and anytime. Professor Kristine Larson’s career has coincided with this GPS revolution. 

Early on, Larson used GPS to measure fault motions in California. Then, about 15 years ago, she began working on something GPS wasn’t supposed to be able to do­–measuring how the ground is moving during an earthquake, when the ground is literally breaking apart. 

In trying to convert a system designed to measure slow tectonic speeds into a seismometer, she found herself spending most of her time trying to model the effects of reflected GPS signals so they wouldn’t contaminate GPS seismic records. However, intrinsically, these reflections provide information about the surface beneath the GPS antenna (i.e. how much snow there is, whether the soil is wet or dry).

Lecture with reception to follow. RSVP required. Click here for more information.