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VIRGIN ISLANDS IS NOW PART OF A GPS OBSERVATIONAL NETWORK

VIRGIN ISLANDS IS NOW PART OF A GPS OBSERVATIONAL NETWORK

March 21, 2013693Views

Thursday,
March 21
The Virgin Islands
is now part of a
Continuously Operating Caribbean
Global Positioning System Observational Network, which will aid in the
monitoring, understanding and prediction of earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding,
volcanoes and landslides.

In May of 2011 the Department of
Disaster Management (DDM) reported on the commencement of a project to install
a Continuously Operating Caribbean Global Positioning System (GPS)
Observational Network (COCONet).. Following the approval of Cabinet the new
station is now in full operation and is located on Virgin Gorda.

This station was provided by the
University NAVSTAR Consortium (UNAVCO), a Colorado-based non-profit
membership-governed consortium that operates GPS networks worldwide as part of
the COCONet project.

Technicians from UNAVO recently
spent a week on Virgin Gorda setting up the station. In an interview with
Engineer Abe Morrison he said, “The installation of the GPS referencing station
will allow you to measure the movements of the tectonic plate that we are
sitting on. It is co-located with a seismic station to monitor the earth’s movements
and a weather station to measure atmospheric conditions to track hurricanes and
other weather systems.”

Mr. Morrison further explained,
“GPS and meteorological Data collected from stations such as the one now
established on Virgin Gorda is used to study solid earth processes such as
tectonic plate motions, tectonic plate boundary interaction and deformation,
including earthquake cycle processes and risks. This data will eventually
become available for use by scientists, government agencies, educators,
students and the private sector.”

COCONet is a four-year award that
is expected to add 50 high precision permanent GPS station to 50 existing ones
in the Caribbean and Caribbean border nations. The instruments are able to
detect millimeter changes in movement of the Earth’s crust. These initiatives
help to improve the monitoring of earthquakes and weather systems that have the
potential to significantly impact the Virgin Islands and are a significant
contribution to the advancement of the local Disaster Management Programme

To learn more about the COCONet
project visit http://coconet.unavco.org.