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Investigating the polar regions from the inside out


GPS Seismic A Historical Perspective

Early remote instrument deployments in the polar regions were limited by the necessity for a power grid source. Using technology for self-powered instruments is dramatically expanding the scale of territory that can be measured. For example, current A-NET deployments for the 2009-2010 season span a region that is roughly equivalent to the area of the United States east of the Mississippi River.

Autonomous stations now rely on renewable energy sources to keep them operational. Solar panels are effective in the summer months when sunlight is abundant. In the winter months, however, when the poles are covered in constant darkness, wind power becomes important and the solar energy previously stored in battery banks is used to power the stations. Communication satellites are used to transmit GPS data from the remote sites to the scientists. The voluminous seismic data, however, must still be collected by returning to the stations.

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