Measuring earthquakes from optical satellite images

Nadège Van Puymbroeck, Rémi Michel, Renaud Binet, Jean Philippe Avouac, Jean Taboury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)


Système pour l’Observation de la Terre images are used to map ground displacements induced by earthquakes. Deformations (offsets) induced by stereoscopic effect and roll, pitch, and yaw of satellite and detector artifacts are estimated and compensated. Images are then resampled in a cartographic projection with a low-bias interpolator. A subpixel correlator in the Fourier domain provides twodimensional offset maps with independent measurements approximately every 160 m. Biases on offsets are compensated from calibration. High-frequency noise (0.125 m−1) is μ0.01 pixels. Low-frequency noise (lower than 0.001 m−1) exceeds 0.2 pixels and is partially compensated from modeling. Applied to the Landers earthquake, measurements show the fault with an accuracy of a few tens of meters and yields displacement on the fault with an accuracy of better than 20 cm. Comparison with a model derived from geodetic data shows that offsets bring new insights into the faulting process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3486-3494
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 20 Jul 2000


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