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  • Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato
    Published 25 July 2022 Referencing Hub media

    Using satellite and GPS technology, scientists can gather real-time data about the movement of the Earth’s crust. Some of this movement is so small it is not felt on the land, but it provides important data for understanding the processes and predictions of earthquakes and other hazards.

    This animated video is part of the Build a satellite interactive. To find out more about using satellites to track Earth movements, see the article How do we know about Earth movements? then follow up with the activity Analysing satellite data to track Earth movements.


    Kia ora, great to see you!

    We have been out here researching the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates.

    We don’t usually feel this movement because it’s quite gradual – just a few millimetres every year. With time, the pressure of this movement builds up and there is a sudden shift inside the Earth we feel as an earthquake. Looking at the Earth from the ground is one way to research but we need to get a better picture.

    We’ve been thinking. What if we track the movement of the Earth’s plate boundaries using GPS from a satellite? We think this is going to give us robust data we can use in our research. We are pretty excited about the possibilities!

    Can you help us build and launch a satellite that is fit for our purpose? I know you can! Thanks e hoa.

    Waiau fault scarp, Dr Katherine Pedley

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