Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Near-Surface Geochemistry and Geobiology

Berkeley Seismologist Applies Data Science to Analyze the 2016 Kumamoto (Japan) Earthquake

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Roland Bürgmann is co-author of “Toward full exploitation of coherent and incoherent information in Sentinel-1 TOPS data for retrieving surface displacement: Application to the 2016 Kumamoto (Japan) earthquake.” The article came out on 25 February 2017 in Geophysical Research Letters.

Sentinel-1's continuous observation program over all major plate boundary regions makes it well suited for earthquake studies. However, decorrelation due to large displacement gradients and limited azimuth resolution of the Terrain Observation by Progressive Scan (TOPS) data challenge acquiring measurements in the near field of many earthquake ruptures and prevent measurements of displacements in the along-track direction. Here the authors propose to fully exploit the coherent and incoherent information of TOPS data by using standard interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), split-bandwidth interferometry in range and azimuth, swath/burst-overlap interferometry, and amplitude cross correlation to map displacements in both the line-of-sight and the along-track directions. Application to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence reveals the coseismic displacements from the far field to the near field. By adding near-field constraints, the derived slip model reveals more shallow slip than obtained when only using far-field data from InSAR, highlighting the importance of exploiting all coherent and incoherent information in TOPS data.

Prof. Bürgmann is a specialist in active tectonics, with a doctoral degree from Stanford University. He was also educated at the University of Tübingen and the University of Colorado. Prof. Bürgmann is also former chair of the Berkeley Earth & Planetary Science Department.

For the full-length article please click here.