Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Airborne Radar Studies Haiti Earthquake Faults

Date:
January 30, 2010
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
After six years of unprecedented exploration of the Red Planet, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit no longer will be a fully mobile robot. NASA has designated the once-roving scientific explorer a stationary science platform after efforts during the past several months to free it from a sand trap have been unsuccessful.

NASA's UAVSAR airborne radar will create 3-D maps of earthquake faults over wide swaths of Haiti (red shaded area) and the Dominican Republic (yellow shaded area).
Credit: NASA

In response to the disaster in Haiti on Jan. 12, NASA has added a series of science overflights of earthquake faults in Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola to a previously scheduled three-week airborne radar campaign to Central America.

NASA's Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar, or UAVSAR, left NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., on Jan. 25 aboard a modified NASA Gulfstream III aircraft.

During its trek to Central America, which will run through mid-February, the repeat-pass L-band wavelength radar, developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will study the structure of tropical forests; monitor volcanic deformation and volcano processes; and examine Mayan archeology sites. After the Haitian earthquake, NASA managers added additional science objectives that will allow UAVSAR's unique observational capabilities to study geologic processes in Hispaniola following the earthquake. UAVSAR's ability to provide rapid access to regions of interest, short repeat flight intervals, high resolution and its variable viewing geometry make it a powerful tool for studying ongoing Earth processes.

"UAVSAR will allow us to image deformations of Earth's surface and other changes associated with post-Haiti earthquake geologic processes, such as aftershocks, earthquakes that might be triggered by the main earthquake farther down the fault line, and the potential for landslides," said JPL's Paul Lundgren, the principal investigator for the Hispaniola overflights. "Because of Hispaniola's complex tectonic setting, there is an interest in determining if the earthquake in Haiti might trigger other earthquakes at some unknown point in the future, either along adjacent sections of the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault that was responsible for the main earthquake, or on other faults in northern Hispaniola, such as the Septentrional fault."

Lundgren says these upcoming flights, and others NASA will conduct in the coming weeks, months and years, will help scientists better assess the geophysical processes associated with earthquakes along large faults and better understand the risks.

UAVSAR uses a technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar, or InSAR, that sends pulses of microwave energy from the aircraft to the ground to detect and measure very subtle deformations in Earth's surface, such as those caused by earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and glacier movements. Flying at a nominal altitude of 12,500 meters (41,000 feet), the radar, located in a pod under the aircraft's belly, collects data over a selected region. It then flies over the same region again, minutes to months later, using the aircraft's advanced navigation system to precisely fly over the same path to an accuracy of within 5 meters (16.5 feet). By comparing these camera-like images, interferograms are formed that have encoded the surface deformation, from which scientists can measure the slow surface deformations involved with the buildup and release of strain along earthquake faults.

Since November of 2009, JPL scientists have collected data gathered on a number of Gulfstream III flights over California's San Andreas fault and other major California earthquake faults, a process that will be repeated about every six months for the next several years. From such data, scientists will create 3-D maps for regions of interest.

Flight plans call for multiple observations of the Hispaniola faults this week and in early to mid-February. Subsequent flights may be added based on events in Haiti and aircraft availability. After processing, NASA will make the UAVSAR imagery available to the public through the JPL UAVSAR website and the Alaska Satellite Facility Distributed Active Archive Center. The initial data will be available in several weeks.

Lundgren said the Dominican Republic flights over the Septentrional fault will provide scientists with a baseline set of radar imagery in the event of future earthquakes there. Such observations, combined with post-event radar imagery, will allow scientists to measure ground deformation at the time of the earthquakes to determine how slip on the faults is distributed and also to monitor longer-term motions after the earthquakes to learn more about fault zone properties. The UAVSAR data could also be used to pinpoint exactly which part of the fault slipped during an earthquake, data that can be used by rescue and damage assessment officials to better estimate what areas might be most affected.

For more on UAVSAR, visit: http://uavsar.jpl.nasa.gov . For more on how UAVSAR is being used to study earthquake faults and landslide processes, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features.cfm?feature=2190 .


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Airborne Radar Studies Haiti Earthquake Faults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100129221201.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2010, January 30). NASA Airborne Radar Studies Haiti Earthquake Faults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100129221201.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Airborne Radar Studies Haiti Earthquake Faults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100129221201.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins