Kristine M. Larson

Central Washington University

Primary Section: 16, Geophysics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2020)


Kristine M. Larson is a geodesist. She is known for developing innovative ways to use GPS signals to study the Earth. Larson was born in Santa Barbara and grew up in San Diego. She received a B.A. in engineering sciences from Harvard University in 1985 and a Ph.D. in geophysics in 1990 from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, U.C. San Diego. She was a professor of aerospace engineering sciences at the University of Colorado from 1990 through 2018. In 2014 her research group received the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Water Prize for Creativity. Larson received the EGU Huygens Medal in 2015 and the AGU Whitten Medal in 2020. In 2022 she became a Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Bonn.

Research Interests

Larson’s research group worked on high-precision GPS applications, mostly for geoscientists. They made some of the first applications of the GPS technique to study plate boundary deformation, global plate tectonic motions, glacial isostatic adjustment, and episodic slip.  Her group pioneered the use of GPS data for measuring seismic displacements that are used in finite fault slip models. Similar methods were used to make the first precise measurements of ice sheet speeds in Greenland. Removing reflected signal errors in these seismic studies led to the development of GPS interferometric reflectometry. This new technique uses reflected GPS signals to measure near-surface soil moisture, snow depth, vegetation water content, permafrost melt and water levels.

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