Horizontal and vertical deformation field in New Caledonia, South West Pacific, derived from more than 20 years of GNSS measurements
Abstract:New Caledonia is located in the South West Pacific Ocean, on the Australian Plate just before its subduction under the North Fiji Basin. Because it is on the subducting side of the plate interface, New Caledonia is considered to be stable to first order and not to undergo rapid deformation. However, moderate seismicity is recorded close to the plate interface, in the southern part of the main land and along the Loyalty ridge. In addition, the main island and Loyalty ridge are subjected to long-term vertical deformation due to the flexure of the plate entering subduction.
A geodetic network was installed since the early days of GPS (~1990) and has been further developed and occasionally measured since. Due to the low number of global GNSS recording stations in the early 1990s, the positioning accuracy that can be achieved with these data is poor compared to present-day standards, and expected movements are slow (possibly less than 1 mm/yr). However, the >20 year length of the time series may allow us to determine the current deformation field in New Caledonia and Loyalty Ridge.
We pay special care in using older GNSS data for characterizing ground motions, reprocessing all available data using a range of different processing strategies and products. We calculated daily positions from double-differenced ionosphere-free carrier phase data in a global network using the GAMIT software and combined and aligned the results on the ITRF2008 using the CATREF software, according to the processing strategy developed as part of the current ULR6 (www.sonel.org) reprocessing campaign for IGS. We compare the double difference results with those obtained in PPP mode using JPL GIPSY software as well as CNES GINS software and different products (MIT, JPL and GRG orbits and clocks provided in the framework of the IGS2 reprocessing campaign). We present both the results for New Caledonia and an analysis of the applicability of these different processing strategies to older GNSS datasets.