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Present-Day 3D Velocity Field of Eastern North America Based on Continuous GPS Observations

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Abstract

The Saint Lawrence River valley in eastern Canada was studied using observations of continuously operating GPS (CGPS) stations. The area is one of the most seismically active regions in eastern North America characterized by many earthquakes, which is also subject to an ongoing glacial isostatic adjustment. We present the current three-dimensional velocity field of eastern North America obtained from more than 14 years (9 years on average) of data at 112 CGPS stations. Bernese GNSS and GITSA software were used for CGPS data processing and position time series analysis, respectively. The results show the counterclockwise rotation of the North American plate in the No-Net-Rotation model with the average of 16.8 ± 0.7 mm/year constrained to ITRF 2008. We also present an ongoing uplift model for the study region based on the present-day CGPS observations. The model shows uplift all over eastern Canada with the maximum rate of 13.7 ± 1.2 mm/year and subsidence to the south mainly over northern USA with a typical rate of −1 to −2 mm/year and the minimum value of −2.7 ± 1.4 mm/year. We compared our model with the rate of radial displacements from the ICE-5G model. Both models agree within 0.02 mm/year at the best stations; however, our model shows a systematic spatial tilt compared to ICE-5G. The misfits between two models amount to the maximum relative subsidence of −6.1 ± 1.1 mm/year to the east and maximum relative uplift of 5.9 ± 2.7 mm/year to the west. The intraplate horizontal velocities are radially outward from the centers of maximum uplift and are inward to the centers of maximum subsidence with the typical velocity of 1–1.6 ± 0.4 mm/year that is in agreement with the ICE-5G model to the first order.

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Acknowledgments

This project has been partly funded by the grants of the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Faculty of Forestry, Geography, and Geomatics of Laval University for the second and the third author. We gratefully thank the anonymous reviewers who helped to improve the quality of the manuscript by their comments. We used the following software as well as those mentioned in the text: MATLAB for numerical calculations, Quantum GIS software (QGIS 2015), and GIMP and Inkscape for preparing figures.

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Goudarzi, M.A., Cocard, M. & Santerre, R. Present-Day 3D Velocity Field of Eastern North America Based on Continuous GPS Observations. Pure Appl. Geophys. 173, 2387–2412 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-016-1270-7

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