By means of the time derivatives of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) carrier-phase measurements, the instantaneous velocity of a stand-alone, single GNSS receiver can be estimated with a high precision of a few mm/s; it is feasible to even obtain the level of tenths of mm/s. Therefore, only data from the satellite navigation message are needed, thus discarding any data from a reference network. Combining this method with an efficient movement-detection algorithm opens some interesting applications for geohazard monitoring; an example is the detection of strong earthquakes. This capability is demonstrated for a case study of the 6.5 Mw earthquake of October 30, 2016, near the city of Norcia in Italy; in that region, there are densely deployed GNSS stations. It is shown that GNSS sensors can detect seismic compressional (P) waves, which are the first to arrive at a measurement station. These findings are substantiated by a comparison with data of strong-motion (SM) seismometers. Furthermore, it is shown that the GNSS-only hypocenter localization comes close (less than a kilometer) to the solutions provided by official seismic services. Finally, we conclude that this method can provide important contributions to a real-time geohazard early-warning system.
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