Geophysical Instruments

After gathering over a decade of research, it was determined that earthquake activity can really change the location of a place by as much as one-tenth of an inch.

After reviewing earthquake activity from the past 13 years, it was found that a larger earthquake with the magnitude of 8.0 can have an impact on the earth and affect the GPS system’s ability to accurately plot location information. The Global Positioning System consists of satellites and stations that operate in a network to transmit information in real-time. The greater the severity of the earthquake, the more changes the earth will experience.

Since 2000, the position of GPS sites changed. The findings were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The earthquakes could make GPS less accurate when it comes to measuring sea level changes and physical locations.

Researchers are now confronted with the issue of accounting for those minor changes in the seal level and location of a place as they occur to protect the integrity of the data collected. A new formula may need to be developed and applied to offset the significant changes to the earth’s crust. Every time a major earthquake occurs, significant changes happen. Although the average shift in positioning was one-hundredth of an inch for each, the changes must still be accounted for to improve accuracy, researchers explain. The average person has no need to worry about geophysical instruments and changes in the earth’s crust. These small changes won’t affect the GPS services in mobile devices or cars.

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