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Most Recent Results

Fournier et al. (2009): Tracking magma volume recovery at Okmok Volcano using GPS and an Unscented Kalman Filter [PDF]

Freymueller et al. (2008): Active deformation processes in Alaska, based on 15 years of GPS measurements [PDF]


The relationship between vertical motion of the land and sea level rise needs to be better understood in order to provide useful information to coastal decision makers on a variety of issues such as land use and community planning. In Kachemak Bay, Alaska, near the town of Homer, coastal uplift due to tectonic and postseismic deformation (following the great earthquake in 1964) and rapid ice-mass loss from immense ice fields has influenced coastal habitat and affected coastal communities in many ways that have largely gone undocumented. This project aims to document more precisely the relative sea level changes and impacts on coastal habitat.

Local communities are interested in the implications for predicted sea level change, patterns of coastal erosion, infrastructure construction and protection, planning, zoning, and public safety issues. Changes in the local community ecology and potential impacts to food resources (salmon and their associated habitats and near-shore species of invertebrates and plants) are also important.


The primary goal of this project is to provide accurate vertical positioning information for coastal managers to support informed decisions on land use planning and public safety and improve predictions of future coastal elevation, sea level rise, and habitat changes.


The null hypothesis for this study is based on the pre-existing estimates of land surface uplift and relative sea level in the area and the estimated rate of global sea level rise: the uplift rate of the land in the Kachemak Bay region is uniform and equal to the regional average of GPS measurements, and uplift is faster than global sea level rise, with a net effect of producing a long-term decline in relative sea level.

The impacts of sea level change on coastal ecology and on the local community have will be explored as part of our project. The data collected through this project will allow us to test several additional hypotheses that relate to the causes and effects of sea level changes in Kachemak Bay. These hypotheses will be tested against the null hypothesis and used to develop a synthesis model that explains the causes of sea level change in the area and its effects on coastal ecosystems, while allowing more accurate predictions of future changes.

Hypotheses to be tested

Current uplift rates for the project sites in Kachemak Bay will be presented in the table below soon. As of May 2012, data spans remain a bit too short. Contact me for updated information.



Data Span

Uplift Rate (mm/yr)

Uplift Rate (inches per year)


Homer Dept. of Public Works

10/2010 - 05/2012

not enough data

not enough data


McNeil Canyon Elem. School

11/2011 - 05/2012

not enough data

not enough data


Peterson Bay

05/2011 - 05/2012

not enough data

not enough data


Homer Spit

11/2011 - 05/2012

not enough data

not enough data



11/2011 - 03/2012

not enough data

not enough data

This project is supported by NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve program. The Kachemak Bay Research Reserve (KBRR), part of the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game, is the lead agency, PI Angela Doroff.

Dr. Jeffrey T. Freymueller
Professor of Geophysics
Geophysical Institute
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320

Phone 907-474-7286
Fax 907-474-7290
Office 413B Elvey