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Amazing GPS helps researchers predict volcanic eruptions

by GPS4US 2014-01-15 11:50

So here’s the thing about GPS.

It can pretty much be used for everything. Really, there are no limits to the information GPS is
helping scientists uncover about our world.

GPS can help figure out earthquakes, tornadoes, storms. It can track the natural movements of any
animal big enough to hold a unit, and it always lets you know exactly where you are.

So when we hear about a story like this, we’re not as much surprised as we are mesmerized at the
avenues this technology has opened for science.

The newest story comes from Iceland, where researchers believe they can detect shifts in the ground
that are often followed by volcanic eruptions.

In April 2011, a GPS unit posted on an outcrop near Iceland’s Grímsvötn volcano sensed the ground
moving by more than a meter. The GPS sent the data to nearby scientists, and the volcano erupted an
hour later. Grímsvötn was determined to be Iceland’s largest eruption in nearly a century.

"A GPS site can tell you not only that there's unrest at a volcano, but that it's about to erupt and
then how high its plume will be," Sigrún Hreinsdóttir, geophysicist at the University of Iceland in
Reykjavik, told Nature magazine. "We need another eruption to prove we are right."

GPS instruments collect data that scientists can use to determine how much pressure is building
underground, which helps them predict the size of an eruption.

Yeah, we’re not sure how either. But we’re happy just being amazed at what GPS can do.

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