The Republic of Croatia is situated in a collision zone that is part of the Mediterranean convergence zone, a collision zone between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates (Tari, 2002, Tari Kovačić and Mrinjek, 1994, Schmid et al. 2008). Based on the previous research, the largest portion of the geodynamic movements within the Dinaridic fold-thrust belt and SW Pannonian Basin have been associated to dynamics and kinematics of the Adria microplate that moves independently in respect to the African and Eurasian tectonic plates (D'Agostino et al. 2008). Convergence of the Adria microplate and stable Eurasian plate (2-5 mm /yr., e.g., Grenerczy et al., 2005; Bennett et al., 2008; Weber et al., 2010) is reflected through the accumulation and distribution of tectonic activity along the margins of the Adria microplate, which is due to differential stress distribution in the Earth's crust accompanied by seismic activity, i.e., earthquakes. Tectonic activity is also manifested through the heterogeneous distribution of stresses in the Earth's Crust, which leads to the seismic activity on recent and neotectonic active faults, usually reverse and/or strike-slip faults. Recent geodynamic processes that manifests generally as a seismic activity, represent a potential hazard and risk for the population living in that area. Possible earthquakes can yield with instantaneous release of accumulated seismic energy which could cause material and non-material damage, and even human casualties. Geodynamic and kinematics processes are not restricted to the national boundaries, so understanding the cause-and-effect relationships is of great importance for the safety of the local community, and for society in the wider area.

Scientific research activities require monitoring of geodynamic processes through the prism of an interdisciplinary approach, i.e., through synergy of research methods from the domains of various geoscience disciplines such as Geodesy, Geology, Geophysics and Seismology. Research activates on geodynamic processes that investigate accumulation and release of seismic energy, i.e., earthquakes, in its initial phase, are mainly associated to geological and seismological research methods. Geological methods are primarily based on the analysis of geological and geophysical data with the objectives of defining structural-geological relationships, as well as identification of principal discontinuities i.e., faults in a research area. On the other hand, seismology and seismotectonics are focused to the determination of the kinematic properties of the active faults, as well as their geometrical parameters that are crucial in definition of fault’s seismic potential. Additionally, seismological methods are also focused on studying historical seismic activity in the study area, with the principal objectives of better definition of seismic hazard and characterization of tectonic processes in a given area. With the development of modern geodetic satellite methods of spatial data collection, the role of geodesy in geodynamic research has gained much importance. Geodesy as a Science enables the collection of geometric information on the distribution of Earth's stress and strain on the global, regional and local level through the observations in the certain time period with respect to the reference frame. For this reason, geodetic research represents an ideal upgrade of geological and seismological results when examining and characterizing recent tectonic movements and geodynamics of the observed area. Geodetic research at the global and regional level is focused on tracking geodynamic processes related to tectonics by conducting observations on the global, continental, and regional networks (IGS, EUREF) using the Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) (Kreemer et al., 2014), and the long-distance interferometry (VLBI) for a certain period (Jordan and Minster 1988, Cambell and Nothnagel 2000). The geodetic methods most commonly used to collect spatial data on the temporal development of surface deformations of the Earth's crust on the local level, i.e. the narrower area around the fault zones, are the aforementioned GNSS networks (smaller), and the Satellite Radar Interferometry, also known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) (Massonnet and Feigl 1998). Geodetic methods at the local level provide a very good basis for monitoring seismic cycles on seismogenic sources, starting from inter-seismic phase (stress accumulation process, i.e. ground deformations that precede earthquake), to co-seismic phase (ground and surface displacements caused by earthquake released energy) and the post-seismic phase (ground and surface deformations after the earthquake event). Contemporary geodetic methods enable continuous and accurate tracking of the Earth's physical surface stresses that can be conditionally correlated with the tectonically induced strains of the Earth's crust and / or strains on seismic fault zones.

The scope of this project proposal is primarily the territory of the Republic of Croatia, but considering the spatial context of geodynamic processes, it is necessary to observe this through the application of geodetic methods in a wider (regional) and narrow (local) spatial context. The project proposal focuses on the application of the geodetic method of adjustment of the GNSS network with the aim of determining the recent kinematic movements of the Adriatic microplate as well as the distribution of the differential displacement of the Adriatic microplate with respect to the reference frame of observation. The project proposal suggests the adjustment of the regional GNSS network consisting of permanent GNSS stations of the official Croatian Positioning System (CROPOS) and GNSS stations of the official GNSS networks of other states in the region for the period of observation 2009-2017. Furthermore, this project proposal also proposes the application of multi-temporal InSAR methods for characterization and quantification of recent tectonic activity of identified fault zones in the Dinarides area. This is the application of the InSAR method in local areas around the cities Rijeka and Dubrovnik which have the greatest seismic potential in Croatia (Herak et al. 2011).

Previous relevant geodynamic researches on geodynamics and kinematics of the Adriatic microplate based on GNSS observations are described in Altiner, (2001), Oldow et al. (2002), Battaglia, (2004); D'Agostino et al. (2008), Weber et al. (2011). The results of these research unambiguously point to the fact that the distribution and the amount of GNSS points used in previous geodynamic research on the eastern side of the Adriatic region, including the Republic of Croatia (IGS / SOPAC / EUREF: 7 GNSS points), does not meet all the necessary preconditions for detailed and precise research of geodynamic movements of the Adriatic microplate. Several international geodynamic projects have been carried out in Croatia for the past two decades: CERGOP and CRODYN, and CRODYN-2014. In this project, an absolute and relative kinematic model of the Adriatic microplate was obtained in relation to the ITRF2008 reference frame for a period of 4.87 years. It is important to emphasize that the relative kinematic model of the CRODYN-2014 project (Pavasović 2014) does not show consensus with the previous research in the Euler pole position of the Adriatic microplate. The stated reasons are the relative short-time frame of observation and the geometry of the GNSS network used, i.e. the distribution and spatial coverage of the research area.

Furthermore, in geodynamic research of potential recently-active fault zones in the territory of the Republic of Croatia, it is important to mention the geodetic-geodynamic project "Geodynamic GPS Network of the City of Zagreb", which has been active since 1997 until today (Pribičević et al.2016). In 2015, for the first time in Croatia, the InSAR method has been included in the mentioned project (Pribičević et al. 2017). The combination of two modern satellite geodetic methods provided a highly accurate and detailed monitoring of the deformation of the physical surface of the Earth in the wider Zagreb area. The aforementioned geodetic-geodynamic project is an example of the recent monitoring and application of the latest geodetic research methods in the Republic of Croatia with regard to the latest international trends in geodynamic research (Bekaert et al 2015, Sousa et al 2014, Mouratidis and Costantini 2012, Gourmelen et al. 2010).


The main objective is to improve existing knowledge and to collect new sets of data on geodynamic processes in the Republic of Croatia through the application of modern geodetic satellite methods, the Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) and Multi-Temporal Satellite Radar Interferometry (MT-InSAR). The proposal of this research project is primarily oriented towards defining and applying a new methodological approach in geodesy, which implies the collection and processing of high-quality temporal-spatial data as well as their interpretation with regard to the recent field of stress and its spatial distribution in relation to observed local and regional frame. In the identification and interpretation of the spatial distribution of the recent stress field and associated deformation, the correlation of the obtained geodetic data with the geological and seismological data will be considered. The proposed multidisciplinary approach is mandatory for the interpretation of the obtained research results due to necessity of its validation in the context of existing geological, seismotectonic and seismological data. Interdisciplinary analysis approach of the research results is especially important in the context of interpretation of the results of MT-InSAR method that is a remote-sensing method which detects possible surface spatial movements in the study area (e.g. surface subsidence, landslides, object deformations, etc.), which often do not need to be genetically related to recent tectonic activity, i.e., fault activity. The results of geodetic, geological and seismological methods will be integrated into a common database, based on which a high-quality geodetic-geodynamic basis for further geodynamic research in this region will be established. This basis will consist of a geodetic-geodynamic base that includes all project results and analyses in the form of WebGIS application and summed project methodology in the form of defined standards for the application of the CROPOS GNSS network and the MT-InSAR method in geodynamic research in the Republic of Croatia. As the end result of this project, along with the mentioned geodetic-geodynamic base, networking of scientific researchers in the field of geodesy, geology, and seismology, the necessary preconditions for the establishment of an expert geodetic geodynamic centre in the Republic of Croatia will be realized, which will follow the international trends.


The unique contribution of the project will be the establishment of a comprehensive geodetic-geodynamic basis for future geodynamic and related scientific research in the Republic of Croatia. The aforesaid basis will consist of a geodetic-geodynamic base that includes all project results and analysis in the form of WebGIS application, and summed project methodology in the form of defined standards for the application of the CROPOS GNSS network and MT-InSAR method in geodynamic research in the Republic of Croatia. The geodetic-geodynamic base will be obtained by integrating all geodetic, geological and seismological results and analysis into a common database based on which an interactive WebGIS application will be developed in accordance with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards. By establishing this base in the form of an interactive WebGIS application, it will enable the scientific, as well as public and private community access to the project results with the aim of achieving the transparency and availability of recent findings about geodynamic processes in the research area. The availability of project data is of utmost importance for further geodynamic research, but also for obtaining reliable risk assessments of seismic hazards. Namely, future risk assessments of the seismic hazard based on the results obtained with this project are of immense value to local self-government units when planning spatial planning and construction, i.e. when applying the European standard EUROKOD8-Design of earthquake resistance of constructions. In this way, the project proposal directly and indirectly contributes to the preservation of life and property of the population in the field of research. The overall methodology for establishing the geodetic-geodynamic base will be expressed as a guide to the geodetic application of the CROPOS GNSS network and the MT-InSAR method for geodynamic research in the Republic of Croatia. By defining these guidelines / standards, a high-quality basis for further geodetic and geodynamic research in the Republic of Croatia will be ensured and will contribute to their standardization and alignment with international trends.


he main objective of this project proposal is to improve existing knowledge and to collect new sets of data on geodynamic processes in the Republic of Croatia through the application of modern geodetic satellite methods, the Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) and Multi-Temporal Satellite Radar Interferometry (MT-InSAR) as well as interpretation and validation of obtained results with geological and seismological data. The final result of this project proposal is a common database of geodetic, geological and seismological results as a high-quality geodetic-geodynamic basis for further geodynamic research in the Republic of Croatia. Accordingly, the methodology of this project proposal can be divided into four phases (Figure 1); 1) a preparatory phase which primarily involves the collection of data of selected GNSS stations and satellite radar images, 2) the adjustment of the regional GNSS network and the multi-temporal processing of satellite radar interferometry of collected satellite radar images, 3) interdisciplinary analysis of the results obtained by GNSS network adjustment and MT-InSAR method through interpretation and validation with seismological and geological data, and 4) establishment of the geodetic-geodynamic basis for future geodynamic research in the Republic of Croatia. Below, the first and second phases will be described through the process of applying two geodetic methods, GNSS network adjustment and multi-temporal satellite interferometry.


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Project title:

Research of recent regional and local geodynamic processes in the Republic of Croatia using modern satellite geodetic methods





Project leader:

Prof. Boško Pribičević, PhD

Leading institution:

Faculty of Geodesy - University of Zagreb


5.10.2018. – 4.10.2022.

Project financed by:

Croatian Science Foundation


Project value:

1.000.750,00 Kn

Scientific area:

Interdisciplinary, Technical sciences, Natural sciences

Scientific fields:

Geodesy, Geophysics, Geology

Participating organisations:

Projekt GEOMSAT financira Hrvatska zaklada za znanost pod brojem IP-2018-01-8944.