Evolving the Geodetic Infrastructure to Meet New Scientific Needs

Geoff Blewitt (Research Professor, Nevada Geodetic Lab, NBMG) is a co-author of a new report published by the The National Academies Press titled Evolving the Geodetic Infrastructure to Meet New Scientific Needs.

Free downloads and purchases of the report can be found through the National Academy Press. 

Press Release and Report Highlights.

Description: “Satellite remote sensing is the primary tool for measuring global changes in the land, ocean, biosphere, and atmosphere. Over the past three decades, active remote sensing technologies have enabled increasingly precise measurements of Earth processes, allowing new science questions to be asked and answered. As this measurement precision increases, so does the need for a precise geodetic infrastructure.

Evolving the Geodetic Infrastructure to Meet New Scientific Needs summarizes progress in maintaining and improving the geodetic infrastructure and identifies improvements to meet new science needs that were laid out in the 2018 report. Thriving on Our Changing Planet: A Decadal Strategy for Earth Observation from Space. Focusing on sea-level change, the terrestrial water cycle, geological hazards, weather and climate, and ecosystems, this study examines the specific aspects of the geodetic infrastructure that need to be maintained or improved to help answer the science questions being considered.

The study — undertaken by the Committee on Evolving the Geodetic Infrastructure to Meet New Scientific Needs — was sponsored by NASA and the National Academy of Sciences Arthur L. Day Fund.”

  • David T. Sandwell, Chair, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Srinivas Bettadpur, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Geoffrey Blewitt, University of Nevada, Reno
  • John J. Braun, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
  • Anny Cazenave, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales
  • Nancy Glenn, Boise State University and University of New South Wales
  • Kristine Larson, University of Colorado, Boulder, emeritus
  • Steven Nerem, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Michelle Sneed, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Isabella Velicogna, University of California, Irvine

Evolving the Geodetic Infrastructure to Meet New Scientific NeedsWebinar
Friday, February 21, 2020
Presented by Dr. David T. Sandwell, Committee Chair
Friday, February 21, 2020
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, EST

Webinar registration.

New Paper from NGL! Drought-Triggered Inflation and Earthquakes at Long Valley Caldera

Drought‐triggered magmatic inflation, crustal strain and seismicity near the Long Valley Caldera, Central Walker Lane
by W.C. Hammond, C. Kreemer, I. Zaliapin, and G. Blewitt

First published: 24 May 2019 (JGR Solid Earth)

[May 24, 2019] New Paper! Drought-Triggered Inflation and Earthquakes at Long Valley Caldera

“In a new study we have explored how recent drought periods in California influence the timing of Long Valley active caldera inflation near the city of Mammoth, California. The study uses GPS and seismic data to show how uplift of the Sierra Nevada and magmatic inflation at Long Valley accelerated when the drought initiated in late 2011. The subsequent inflation changed the distribution of active tectonic strain rates in the adjacent central Walker Lane, east of the Sierra Nevada, effecting seismicity rates. Earthquakes occurred more frequently in places where the geodetic strain rates increased, suggesting that hydrological surface loading (e.g. from changing levels of aquifers, snow and lakes) affects the magmatic system in ways that subsequently influence earthquake occurrence. The study captures in new detail the complex links between climate, active volcanoes and earthquakes in eastern California and Nevada.

The work is a collaboration between the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the UNR College of Science. The study appears as a new accepted article in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth.”

NBMG Research Featured in Wired Magazine

An article in WIRED magazine recently released describes cutting-edge research by Jim Faulds, Bill Hammond, and Rich Koehler (Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology) on fault systems in the Walker Lane and how this region could one day become the primary boundary between the Pacific and North American plates.

Read the story here—or listen to the audio version (following the third paragraph in the full article):

Move Over, San Andreas: There’s an Ominous New Fault in Town

by Geoff Manaugh (WIRED, Science, 4-18-19, 6:00 AM)


“U.S. Route 395 is a geologic master class disguised as a road. It runs north from the arid outskirts of Los Angeles, carrying travelers up to Reno along the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada. On the way, they pass the black cinder cones of Coso Volcanic Field and the eroded scars of a mighty 19th-century earthquake near Lone Pine. In winter, drivers might see steam rising from Hot Creek, where water boils up from an active supervolcano deep underground. About an hour from the Nevada border, Mono Lake appears, with its bulbous and surreal mineral formations known as tufa towers. Even for someone with no particular interest in rocks, these are captivating, otherworldly sights. But for James Faulds, Nevada’s state geologist, they are something more—clues to a great tectonic mystery unfolding in the American West. If he’s right, all of this, from the wastes of the Mojave Desert to the night-lit casinos of Reno, will someday be beachfront property.” (Click on link above for complete story.)

NGL Publishes New Paper in Eos—released September 24

Harnessing the GPS Data Explosion for Interdisciplinary Science
By Geoffrey Blewitt, William C. Hammond, and Corné Kreemer, Nevada Geodetic Laboratory, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno

More GPS stations, faster data delivery, and better data processing provide an abundance of information benefiting many kinds of Earth science. At NGL we make our data products for over 17,000 stations available online, including metadata, lists of stations, plots of position coordinates, tables of data holdings, and descriptions of new items relating to the products. The service and philosophy, known as Plug and Play GPS , has been documented in a new paper published today in Eos.

NGL is committed to continuing to provide this long-running service to the scientific community, and we encourage researchers to explore these data sets and apply their creative skills to scientific investigations that have yet to be conceived.

Henceforth we request that citation of the data processing and products presented on our website should be: Blewitt, G., W. C. Hammond, and C. Kreemer (2018), Harnessing the GPS data explosion for interdisciplinary science, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO104623.

Here is the direct link to the article: https://eos.org/project-updates/harnessing-the-gps-data-explosion-for-interdisciplinary-science

Latest News from the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory

[June 18, 2018] New paper published on the August 24, 2014 M6.0 South Napa Earthquake

“A new paper published by Nevada Geodetic Laboratory Graduate Student Meredith Kraner uses data from high‐precision continuous GPS stations to observe a 3 mm horizontal expansion of the Earth’s crust prior to and in the vicinity of the August 2014 M6.0 South Napa earthquake. The study is a collaboration with William Holt from Stony Brook University, and Adrian Borsa from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The analysis looks at eight years of continuous GPS data leading up to the earthquake and finds that this pattern of horizontal crustal extension repeats every summer. The effect releases pressure on faults in the West Napa fault system, making them more likely to slip during the summer months. We speculate that large seasonal variability in the amount of groundwater in the Sonoma and Napa Valley subbasins may contribute to the observed changes.

Read more in the paper, which has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth and is available online here:


Also see features from the AGU, AP news, KCBS radio, and Live Science.” (from NGL website)

2018 Distinguished Classified Employee of the Year Runner-Up— Bret Pecoraro

The Staff Employees’ Council Classified Employee Recognition Committee announced that Bret Pecoraro has been selected as the 2018 Distinguished Classified Employee of the Year runner-up for his exceptional contributions to the University of Nevada, Reno and Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. This is a University-wide award recognizing outstanding classified staff “who exemplify the University’s standards for excellence and innovation.”  It recognizes employees “with equal consideration of all eligible staff, regardless of the locus or level of responsibility within the College.” Bret was nominated by his supervisor, Dr. Bill Hammond and NBMG Acting Director, Dr. John Muntean.

Congratulations to Bret for this well-deserved and great honor!

Bret will be recognized at the “Silver and Blue Salute” on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 from 1–3 PM in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom.

Geoff Blewitt Elected President of IAG Commission 1: Reference Frames

The National Delegates of the International Association of Geodesy have voted Geoff Blewitt to be President of Commission 1: Reference Frames. This organization defines and redefines longitude, latitude, and height that are of primary importance for much Earth science based research and applications, satellite navigation as well as for practical applications in geo-information. For more information on the commission, please see this link: http://geodesy.unr.edu/    [May 30, 2015]

Congratulations to Geoff!