Kristine M. Larson

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Kristine M. Larson
Kristine M Larson (cropped).jpg
Alma mater
Known forGeodesy
Scientific career

Kristine Marie Larson is an American academic. She is Emeritus Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research considers the development of algorithms for high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) data analysis. She was the first to demonstrate that GPS could be used to detect seismic waves. She was awarded the 2015 European Geosciences Union Christiaan Huygens Medal.

Early life and education[edit]

Larson was born in Southern California.[1] Her father Valdemar F. Larson, "Swede", worked on the Deep Sea Drilling Project.[2] She studied engineering science and mechanics at Harvard University and graduated in 1985. Larson joined the University of California, San Diego for her doctoral studies, and earned a PhD in geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1990.[1] Her dissertation evaluated the accuracy of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and was supervised by Duncan Agnew.[3] She was a member of the technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she worked with the team that developed the GPS infrared positioning system, GIPSY.[1][3]

Research and career[edit]

Larson was appointed to the faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1990.[3] She developed new algorithms for the analysis of Global Positioning System (GPS) data.[4] She used GPS to identify plate velocities, boundary zone deformation and ice sheet motion.[3] She completed a visiting professorship at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Larson started to develop GPS for new applications in geoscience in 2000. She led a team of scientists that was the first to demonstrate that GPS could be used to detect seismic waves in 2003.[5][6][7] Her approach was used to evaluate earthquake triggering near the Denali rupture zone. GPS seismology is now used routinely in earth surveillance, including in the monitoring of tsunamis as well as in seismic source models.[5]

Larson has also worked on hydrogeodesy, as well as advising the US Federal Government on geodetic infrastructure.[8] Larson noticed that there were errors caused by the interference of GPS signals, which correlated with the water content in the surfaces close to the receiving antenna.[4] She showed that geodetic GPS receivers can be used to detect the water content of soil, as well as the depth of snow, snow water equivalent, and vegetation water content. She first demonstrated this capability in 2012, when she transformed a GPS network to be capable of interferometric reflectometry (GPS IR). GPS-IR was used in the Earthscope Plate Boundary Observatory.[4]

Larson also showed that it is possible to measure sea level changes, which allows the monitoring of subsidence and ground motion caused by earthquakes. These GPS receivers act as tide gauges, and can be tied to a terrestrial reference frame. She used them to monitor tidal levels in Kachemak Bay, and found that GPS was in good agreement with records from traditional tide gauges.[4] Larson showed that the strength of the GPS signal is correlated to the density of volcanic ash.[9]

In 2015 she became the first woman to win the European Geosciences Union Christiaan Huygens Medal.[10] In 2017 she became a Humboldt Fellow at GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. She became an Emeritus Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Larson, Kristine M. (2001). "Present-day crustal deformation in China constrained by global positioning system measurements". Science. 294: 574–577.
  • Larson, Kristine M. (July 12, 2002). "Surface Melt-Induced Acceleration of Greenland Ice-Sheet Flow". Science. 297: 218–222.
  • Larson, Kristine M. (1997). "GPS measurements of present-day convergence across the Nepal Himalaya". Nature. 388: 61–64.


  1. ^ a b c "Background". Kristine M. Larson. October 4, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  2. ^ "Deep Ocean Drill Bits-Deep Sea Drilling Project Operations Manager". 1970. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Larson Receives Geodesy Section Award". Honors Program. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "User Profile: Dr. Kristine M. Larson | Earthdata". Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Larson, Kristine M. (March 1, 2009). "GPS seismology". Journal of Geodesy. 83 (3): 227–233. doi:10.1007/s00190-008-0233-x. ISSN 1432-1394.
  6. ^ Axelrad, Penina. "Larson Receives Geodesy Section Award". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  7. ^ "GPS tracks seismic waves". New Civil Engineer. July 1, 2003. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  8. ^ Read "Precise Geodetic Infrastructure: National Requirements for a Shared Resource" at
  9. ^ Nestler, Ralf (April 19, 2017). ""Funny Signals" - Kristine Larson uses GPS data for detecting soil moisture and measuring volcanic ash plumes". GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "Christiaan Huygens Medal". European Geosciences Union (EGU). Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "Kristine Larson". Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences. July 29, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  12. ^ a b David. "Creativity Prize (Co-Winners)". Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  13. ^ "Bowie Lectures". Geodesy Section. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  14. ^ "Jubilee professors | Chalmers". Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  15. ^ "Fellows Alphabetical List". Honors Program. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  16. ^ "BFA". Kristine M. Larson. December 23, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  17. ^ "Kristine M. Larson". European Geosciences Union (EGU). Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  18. ^ "Prof. Dr. Kristine M. Larson". Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  19. ^ "Science journalist, geodesist and a physicist named Chalmers honorary doctors of 2017 | Chalmers". Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  20. ^ "Breakthrough GPS work earns 2017 Governor's Award". Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences. August 18, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  21. ^ "Kristine Larson to share groundbreaking GPS work on Dec. 5 as Distinguished Research Lecturer". Research & Innovation Office. November 13, 2018. Retrieved June 25, 2019.