The Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA) comprises ~350 continuously operating, high-precision GPS receivers located throughout the Pacific Northwest and greater Cascadia Subduction Zone along with an interdisciplinary team of hazards research faculty at Central Washington University. Data from these receivers is continuously downloaded, analyzed, archived and disseminated by the Geodesy Lab as part of the geophysics and hazards mitigation research programs within the Cascadia Hazards Institute at Central Washington University, while roughly a dozen faculty groups are engaged in using these and other measurements for policy development, education and outreach throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The Laboratory's primary scientific role is to support high precision, real-time geodetic measurements using Global Positioning System (GPS) observations in order to characterize crustal deformation caused by plate tectonic and other forces; coastal earthquake and tsunami hazards; real-time earthquake and tsunami characterization, and other environmental science applications. Under contracts from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the lab analyses all publically shared GPS data within the Cascadia subduction zone and greater Pacific Northwest. In addition, the Lab also analyzes data from roughly 2000 GPS stations that compose the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory, whose stations span the Pacific-North American tectonic plate boundary from Alaska to Mexico.
All of PANGA's GPS stations and roughly 250 of NSF's Plate Boundary Observatory are telemetered in real-time to CWU, where they are processed in real-time using absolute point positioning of several cm resolution across the Cascadia subduction zone and its metropolitan regions. These real-time data are used to monitor and mitigate natural hazards arising from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and coastal sea-level hazards. In addition, they are also used to monitor man-made structures such as Seattle's sagging Alaska Way Viaduct, 520 and I90 floating bridges, and power-generation/drinking-supply dams throughout the Cascadia subduction zone, including those along the Columbia River.
The goal of measuring millimeter-scale tectonic displacements throughout the Pacific Northwest requires stringent analysis and parameter estimation techniques. The Lab uses NASA's Gipsy Oasis software to translate GPS satellite phase observables into position time series, and many in-house parameter estimation and modeling software to quantify crustal deformation caused by plate tectonics, earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions. In addition to serving as the Data Analysis Facililty for the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA), the CWU Geodesy Lab also supports field experiments on Cascades volcanoes and in mainland Mexico, Baja California, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. All Geodetic data sets are shared freely and in real time; Rinex and other data files are available from PANGA's public archive via anonymous ftp at ftp.panga.cwu.edu.
The laboratory is a major participant in the University NAVSTAR Consortium (UNAVCO), and the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO). These activies are funded primarily by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).