Articles | Volume 16, issue 7
Research article
07 Jul 2016
Research article |  | 07 Jul 2016

GPS-derived ground deformation (2005–2014) within the Gulf of Mexico region referred to a stable Gulf of Mexico reference frame

Jiangbo Yu and Guoquan Wang

Abstract. This study investigates current ground deformation derived from the GPS geodesy infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico region. The positions and velocity vectors of 161 continuous GPS (CGPS) stations are presented with respect to a newly established local reference frame, the Stable Gulf of Mexico Reference Frame (SGOMRF). Thirteen long-term (> 5 years) CGPS are used to realize the local reference frame. The root mean square (RMS) of the velocities of the 13 SGOMRF reference stations achieves 0.2 mm yr−1 in the horizontal and 0.3 mm yr−1 in the vertical directions. GPS observations presented in this study indicate significant land subsidence in the coastal area of southeastern Louisiana, the greater Houston metropolitan area, and two cities in Mexico (Aguascalientes and Mexico City). The most rapid subsidence is recorded at the Mexico City International airport, which is up to 26.6 cm yr−1 (2008–2014). Significant spatial variation of subsidence rates is observed in both Mexico City and the Houston area. The overall subsidence rate in the Houston area is decreasing. The subsidence rate in southeastern Louisiana is relatively smaller (4.0–6.0 mm yr−1) but tends to be steady over time. This poses a potential threat to the safety of coastal infrastructure in the long-term.

Short summary
The study establishes the first local reference frame for the Gulf of Mexico region using the observations from 13 GNSS sites. The root mean square (RMS) of the velocities of the 13 reference stations achieves 0.2 mm yr−1 in the horizontal and 0.3 mm yr−1 in the vertical directions. Land subsidence, faulting, and salt dome activities in the Houston region, Mexico City, and the southeastern Louisiana region are discussed and compared.
Final-revised paper