Satellite Map Shows Deformation Following Alaska Earthquake

©NASA

Anchorage area

Scientists have generated a map of the deformation of Earth's surface caused by the November 30, 2018 magnitude 7.0 earthquake beneath the Anchorage area of Alaska.

Summary: Scientists with the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis project (ARIA), a collaboration between NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Caltech, also in Pasadena, using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from the European Union's Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite, operated by the European Space Agency, generated a map of the deformation of Earth's surface caused by the November 30, 2018 magnitude 7.0 earthquake beneath the Anchorage area of Alaska, USA.

The deformation map is produced from automated interferometric processing of the SAR data using the JPL-Caltech ARIA data system in response to a signal received from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The false-color map shows the amount of permanent surface movement that occurred almost entirely due to the quake, as viewed by the satellite, during a 12-day interval between two Sentinel-1 images acquired on November 22 and Dec. 4, 2018.

The map shows that the earthquake fault that slipped was deep and located to the north of the city of Anchorage. Through these maps, NASA and its partners are contributing important observations and expertise that can assist with response to earthquakes and other natural or human-produced hazards.

Suggested Use: From the pattern of deformation in the map, scientists have determined that the earthquake fault slip was on a fault that likely slopes to the west within the subducting Pacific Plate beneath this part of Alaska. The earthquake caused as much as 3 inches (8 centimeters) lowering of the ground surface to the northwest of the mainshock epicenter. The map depicts motion towards the satellite (up and east) in the direction of the radar's line-of-sight. White areas are places where the radar measurement was not possible. Measurements in the higher elevation areas in the western part and eastern edge of the map also contain errors and are not reliable, largely due to dense forests and snow on the higher elevations that disrupt the radar measurements.

Satellite/Sensor: Copernicus Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Resolution: 30 m

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech ARIA Team, Copernicus, ESA

larger imagery

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.