Geosciences Journal

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 78–87

Feasibility of applying space-borne SAR interferometry for earthquake tectonic investigation

  • Wooil M. Moon
  • John Ristau
  • Paris Vachon

DOI: 10.1007/BF02910486

Cite this article as:
Moon, W.M., Ristau, J. & Vachon, P. Geosci J (1998) 2: 78. doi:10.1007/BF02910486


Space-borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) techniques have recently become one of the most flexible and cost-effective Earth-observation tools for monitoring surface processes, including natural hazard monitoring and management tasks such as landslides, volcanic activities, and earthquake-related problems. This study investigates the feasibility of applying space-borne SAR interferometry to the monitoring of earthquake hazards and investigation of the earthquake-related tectonic processes, focusing on the investigation of the geological setting and associated tectonic processes in the Nahanni Earthquake area, NWT, Canada.

Investigation of seismotectonics in the Nahanni area was carried out in two stages: traditional analysis of remote-sensing data, including both optical and microwave data, for static aspects of tectonic processes (Moon et al., 1991); and new SAR interferometry using RADARSAT, ERS-1/2, and JERS-1 SAR data to study relative movements of several active geological tectonic blocks.

Preliminary results indicate that (1) conventional geological remote-sensing methods provide us with important basic information on the tectonic setting associated with local earthquake activities, including several newly discovered structural features, and remain important as Earth-observation tools, (2) the newly discovered tectonic features correlate well with the earthquake focal plane solutions obtained from teleseismic data, (3) multi-temporal SAR interferometric (or differential InSAR) analysis can provide us with detailed tectonic moeements and understanding of the earthquake processes in the study area, but (4) availability of suitable space-borne SAR data suitable for differential SAR interferometry may pose more problems than the technical development.

Key words

SAR interferometryearthquake tectonicsRADARSATgeological remote sensing

Copyright information

© Springer 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wooil M. Moon
    • 1
  • John Ristau
    • 1
  • Paris Vachon
    • 2
  1. 1.GeophysicsUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Applications DivisionCanada Center for Remote SensingOttawaCanada