On 25 April, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, claiming over 8,000 lives and affecting millions of people.
Images from ESA’s Sentinel-1A satellite clearly showed the effects of the earthquake, including the maximum land deformation only 17km from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. This explains the extremely high damage to the area.
By combining Sentinel-1A imagery from before and after the quake, COMET scientists have been able to interpret the rainbow-coloured interference patterns in the image (known as an interferogram), and interpret them as changes on the ground. COMET scientists have also been analysing the 12 May aftershock. You can read more here.
On 22nd April Calbuco volcano, Chile, erupted for the first time since 1972 with very little warning. Plumes of volcanic ash reached heights of 16 km on the 22nd and up to 17 km in a second, longer eruption that began in the early hours of 23rd April.
Several thousand people were evacuated from villages closest to Calbuco , and ash fell over an area extending from the west coast of Chile to the east coast of Argentina, and grounded air traffic in Chile, Uruguay and Argentina.
COMET scientists have been using satellite data to analyse the event, in terms of both the emissions and changes to the shape of the volcano itself. You can read more about the event here.
COMET Director Tim Wright has been selected as the 2015 Rosentiel Award Recipient by the University of Miami (UM) in recognition of his research into deformation of the Earth’s crust in response to tectonic forces.
The Rosenstiel Award honours scientists who, in the past decade, have made significant and growing impacts in their field. Tim’s major achievements include the discovery of a continental rifting event in Ethiopia’s Afar region, one of the few places on Earth where a mid-ocean ridge comes ashore.
He was also one of the first scientists to measure how plate boundary zones deform, solely relying on satellite observations using a technique called satellite radar interferometry.
Tim presented the 2015 Rosenstiel Award Lecture, “Witnessing the Birth of Africa’s New Ocean” at the UM Rosenstiel School auditorium on Friday 3 April.
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The Society, which has been recognising significant achievements in the Earth sciences since 1831, will be presenting its Wollaston Medal (its highest award, for impacts on pure or applied geology) to COMET’s James Jackson, Professor of Active Tectonics at the University of Cambridge.
Professor Jackson’s work includes research into active tectonics in New Zealand, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Tibet, where he has made vital contributions to understanding the evolution and deformation of the continents, from individual faults to mountain belts.
Professor Geoff Wadge of the University of Reading will meanwhile receive the Murchison Medal, awarded to geologists who have contributed significantly to ‘hard’ rock studies. Professor Wadge is being recognised for his contributions to geology and remote sensing, including research into volcanology, Caribbean tectonics, and volcanic hazards and risk assessment. The awards will be presented by Geological Society President Professor David Manning at President’s Day on 3 June 2015.
Topography is one of the most important geophysical observations that can be made at the Earth’s surface. Recent advances in topographic measurements have significantly improved the spatial resolutions available to earth scientists. Combining new high-resolution topography with high-resolution imagery allows Earth’s surface to be explored in a virtual environment, and comparison of pre- and post-event datasets allows the retrieval of 3D earthquake deformation fields.
The meeting aims to expose to a wider audience the new data sets and methods of analysis for measuring continental topography and surface displacements, and provide a forum for discussion of new tectonic applications of high-resolution topography and imagery.
Europe’s Sentinel-1A spacecraft and its extraordinary images of slip from the South Napa earthquake herald a new era of space-based surveillance of faults.
On 24 August 2014, the San Francisco Bay area shook in an Mw = 6.0 earthquake, the region’s largest in 25 years. The tremors injured roughly 200 people, killed 1 person, and damaged buildings near the quake’s epicenter in the southern reaches of California’s Napa Valley. It also set off a scientific scramble to measure the fault’s movement and marked the dawn of a new age of earthquake satellite monitoring thanks to a recently launched spacecraft: the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1A satellite.
COMET scientists explain why in an article published in EOS, the Earth and space science journal of the American Geophysical Union.