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Deformation monitoring at Coso Volcanic Field

When magma moves into a volcanic system, and closer to the surface of the earth, the area surrounding the volcano may move upward and outward. At Lassen Volcanic Center, this swelling is measured using the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Continuously recording GPS instruments are the most used type of volcanic deformation-monitoring equipment in the world. 24 satellites, orbiting the Earth twice each day, transmit their position in orbit to receivers on the surface of the Earth. The receivers record vertical and horizontal position, and by comparing these measurements through time, it is possible to determine the amount of movement for a specific location on the surface of the earth.

There are currently three GPS receivers that make up the continuous deformation monitoring network at Coso volcanic field. The instruments were installed in 2000, 2005, and 2006. The U.S. Navy and USGS monitor activity within Coso volcanic field.