Africa GPS Network

active volcanic edifice

Graduate student Ellen Knappe spent January-March 2017 in Ethiopia and Kenya.  During her scientific expedition, she collected GPS data recording the tectonic deformation of the African Rift and Ethiopian Highlands.  She also oversaw the transfer of a geophysical geodesy instrument network from the University of Montana to the University of Addis Ababa.  This is now the first ever fully African operated geophysics array.  It will provide long-term observations of tectonics and hydrology to the global scientific community, and will be used by African scientists to pursue their own research targets.  Ellen also installed new instruments around Lake Turkana in northern Kenya (See the above image of an active volcanic edifice in Lake Turkana).  These will record tectonic motions in a very poorly understood area, and we hope they will show how rifting is relayed from the single Ethiopian Rift into two parallel rift valleys in Kenya, the Western and Gregory Rifts.  The Turkana area is famous for early hominid archaeology, so the instruments will also help hominid researchers locate their finds more precisely.

Ethiopian GPS site

Ethiopian children learn about GPS monitoring of tectonics

For more information about these projects, see this article in The East African: