Researchers at the Iowa University and the Geological Survey in the United States have found that data collected from satellites can provide more accurate information on the effects of major earthquakes, which in turn can help provide a more effective emergency response.
The satellite images provide detailed information on where the earthquakes occurred, how large surface deformation was and where the earthquakes occurred in relation to population centers, usually within two to three days after the earthquake. This information was then incorporated into a set of operational response guides handled by the USGS National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), distributed to decision makers, search and rescue operations, and other groups.
In the paper published June 6 in the journal Remote Sensing the researchers determined that the satellite image collected from each earthquake gave new information, which improved the analysis of its impact.
"This, in turn, led to more accurate estimates of the number of deaths and economic losses that are critical to more precisely determining the days and weeks that followed devastating earthquakes," said Bill Barnhart, assistant professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. at UI and a leading author of the study.  Main support for determining the impact of the earthquake is ground-based seismometers that measure seismic activity around the world. But these instruments are not everywhere, which can lead to incomplete information about the effects of any earthquakes during the critical time immediately after they occurred. In addition, some scales are more complex and cannot be accurately measured by seismometers alone.
Increasingly, earthquake specialists are turning to geodetic methods – the mathematical investigation of changes in the shape of the earth – using satellites and other instruments to supplement data collected by seismometers.
"Although this is not yet a fully operational system, we are working with USGS to make operational earthquake reaction with satellite images a systematic component of NEIC's global surveillance and earthquake intervention," says Barnhart.
An example is the work done by performed by Emma Mankin, a UI senior and geoscience major who will graduate in December. Mankin processed radar images or interferograms from a 6.9 magnitude cake that hit Indonesia in August 2018. She then used this image to produce a model of the earthquake and was USGS used this model directly to update its earthquake and earthquake impact predictions incorporated into its disaster response system. "Emma's rapid work on Indonesia's earthquake contributed directly to the operational analysis of a global earthquake" Barnhart says. "Her contributions improved estimates of earthquake tax for that event and contributed to further demonstrate that these satellite assets can provide useful information that benefits society. "
In the paper," Global Earthquake Response with Imaging Geodesy: Latest Examples from USGS NEIC. "It was published June 6 in the journal Remote Sensing .
3D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate real-time effects
William D. Barnhart et al., Global Earthquake Response with Imaging Geodesy: Latest Examples from USGS NEIC, Remote Sensing (2019). DOI: 10.3390 / rs11111357
Satellite observations improve earthquake monitoring, response (2019, June 14)
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