GPS measures west US drought, finds Earth rising

2014-08-22 13:21

(File) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Scientists using GPS technology to study the extent of the western US drought said on Thursday the water shortage is causing parts of the Earth's crust to rise.

Some 62 trillion gallons - equivalent to a 15cm layer of water - have been lost since 2013, causing a slight upward lift across the region, according to the study in the journal Science.

The "uplift" effect equals some 15mm in California's mountains and around 4mm across the west.

The study was conducted by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

Researchers found that precise GPS stations within the National Science Foundation's Plate Boundary Observatory and beyond had moved upward in recent years, coinciding with the current drought.

The study said the rise is not likely to increase the risk of earthquakes since it has "virtually no effect on the San Andreas fault".

Scripps researcher Dan Cayan said the technique could be used to measure changes in fresh water stocks across the globe.

"This technique can be used to study changes in fresh water stocks in other regions around the world, if they have a network of GPS sensors," said Cayan.

A Nasa study out last month found the drought posed a major threat to underground water resources and the regional water supply.

Since 2000, seven western states - including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming - have seen the driest 14-year period in a century.

Read more on:    us  |  environment

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.