Time series of crustal motion using GNSS: Exploring the expression of systematic errors

Mr Nathaniel Young1, Dr Christopher Watson1

1University Of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Australia


Time series of site positions determined using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have revolutionised the understanding of geophysical phenomena such as plate motion, earthquake deformation and crustal responses to mass loading and unloading.  As GNSS enters an era of modernisation with increasing accuracy and precision, it is vital that any potential systematic errors are understood to avoid misinterpretation of the underlying geophysical processes. This is particularly the case for understanding subtle rates of change (e.g. Glacial Isostatic Adjustment) or when interpreting quasi-periodic signals (e.g. understanding water mass transfer into and away from a continent). Geophysical interpretation of data acquired from Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) first requires station locations to be parameterised and estimated, prior to undertaking time series analysis of estimated daily coordinates. Here, as part of a longer-term study to investigate systematic error propagation, we use a series of case study sites to investigate potential sources of systematic errors related to site infrastructure changes and identify their potential impact on geophysical interpretation. We review the potential sources and proxies that may induce or aid in the identification systematic error. We then investigate the impact and highlight the importance of site changes on time-series their subsequent geophysical interpretation.


Nathaniel is a Master student, with a focus on geodesy.  He enjoys applying GNSS and InSAR technologies to the evolution of the solid Earth over time.

Christopher Watson is a senior lecturer in Geodesy at the University of Tasmania. His research interests are focused on the use of space geodetic techniques such as satellite altimetry and GNSS applied to global climate change, sea-level and earth deformation studies.


The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

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