Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geological Sciences

Committee Chair

Tim Melbourne

Second Committee Member

Breanyn MacInnes

Third Committee Member

Walter Szeliga


Current systems for rapidly characterizing earthquakes are based on seismic, teleseismic, and Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) buoy data. These systems have significant limitations that hinder them from making rapid and accurate assessments of large earthquakes used for local tsunami warnings where run-up can occur minutes after the earthquake. Seismic and teleseismic networks saturate around Mw 7.0. Tsunami waves take tens of minutes to reach the buoys, so rapid assessment is impossible. GPS overcomes these limitations for large earthquakes. GPS does not saturate, and the offsets being detected occur very quickly after an earthquake. This thesis develops the algorithms necessary for detecting and characterizing large earthquakes from GPS measurements. Point positioned GPS solutions are acquired from the CWU Geodesy Lab and filtered to detect offsets. Any detected offsets are then inverted to determine slip along the relevant faults. The moment and moment magnitude are calculated based on the estimated slip. The final solutions, detected offsets, calculated offsets and other relevant data are continuously pushed out to a database even when no earthquake is detected. The produced solutions can be used with existing methods to better inform tsunami estimates immediately following a large earthquake.