Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


William I Rose


Charles DeMets


We used differential GPS measurements from a 13 station GPS network spanning the Santa Ana Volcano and Coatepeque Caldera to characterize the inter-eruptive activity and tectonic movements near these two active and potentially hazardous features. Caldera-forming events occurred from 70-40 ka and at Santa Ana/Izalco volcanoes eruptive activity occurred as recently as 2005. Twelve differential stations were surveyed for 1 to 2 hours on a monthly basis from February through September 2009 and tied to a centrally located continuous GPS station, which serves as the reference site for this volcanic network. Repeatabilities of the averages from 20-minute sessions taken over 20 hours or longer range from 2-11 mm in the horizontal (north and east) components of the inter-station baselines, suggesting a lower detection limit for the horizontal components of any short-term tectonic or volcanic deformation. Repeatabilities of the vertical baseline component range from 12-34 mm. Analysis of the precipitable water vapor in the troposphere suggests that tropospheric decorrelation as a function of baseline lengths and variable site elevations are the most likely sources of vertical error. Differential motions of the 12 sites relative to the continuous reference site reveal inflation from February through July at several sites surrounding the caldera with vertical displacements that range from 61 mm to 139 mm followed by a lower magnitude deflation event on 1.8-7.4 km-long baselines. Uplift rates for the inflationary period reach 300 mm/yr with 1σ uncertainties of +/- 26 – 119 mm. Only one other station outside the caldera exhibits a similar deformation trend, suggesting a localized source. The results suggest that the use of differential GPS measurements from short duration occupations over short baselines can be a useful monitoring tool at sub-tropical volcanoes and calderas.

Included in

Geology Commons