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PBO Collaborative Work with USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory and IRIS on Augustine Volcano, Alaska

  • Major Project: Plate Boundary Observatory
  • UNAVCO staff: Ken Austin, Ellie Boyce, Heidi Willoughby, Korey Dausz, and Chad Pyatt
  • Dates: June 9 - 13, 2015
  • Location(s): Augustine Volcano, Southcentral Alaska
  • Funding Source: NSF

Written by UNAVCO PBO Alaska staff
15 October 2015

Plate Boundary Observatory

The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) is a network of more than 1,200 continuous GPS instruments, borehole strainmeters and seismometers, and tiltmeters installed primarily throughout the Western United States. The objective of PBO is to explore land motions related to movement of the Pacific, Juan de Fuca, and North American tectonic plates; such motions inform us about earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other hazards related to plate tectonics. PBO is also used to remotely measure changes in water content of the troposphere, soil moisture content, snow depth, and ground motions related to changes in aquifers, droughts, and lake levels.

PBO is a major component of EarthScope and is funded by the National Science Foundation.


The 2015 season in Alaska was defined by resource sharing and cooperative work with a number of agencies. The largest collaborative effort was a week-long project based in Homer, Alaska with work on and around Augustine volcano. UNAVCO PBO field engineers worked with staff from the USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and IRIS, for the EarthScope Transportable Array (TA), on a project that shared both costs and resources. Work included PBO and AVO station maintenance, staging equipment and fuel for AVO and TA future work, and a major clean-up of the Augustine Lagoon Camp staging area. Personnel from each organization spent four days completing the work and the three organizations shared the costs for the helicopter, transport vessel, and fuel.

PBO Maintenance on Augustine

For UNAVCO, the primary goals for this project were to replace a hut at PBO GPS station AV19, complete battery swaps at stations AV01, AV02, and AC59, and perform radio maintenance work. UNAVCO staff included Ken Austin, Ellie Boyce, Heidi Willoughby, Korey Dausz, and Chad Pyatt.

The first two days of field work consisted of staging fuel, batteries and equipment and moving the vessel into place near Ursus head. The next few days were spent backhauling old fuel, batteries, huts and other equipment. Also, the team set up a new fuel cache for future work. AVO crews installed a gas-monitoring hut on the summit of Augustine, while a PBO crew replaced and relocated the damaged hut at station AV19 (Figure 5). UNAVCO crews also made visits to all other PBO stations around Augustine volcano to complete routine and preventative maintenance, and upgraded radio infrastructure at AV01 to support new TA data streams.

Related Links

Map Center:
Augustine, Alaska


Last modified: 2020-01-28  22:54:32  America/Denver