Source parameters determined from interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) measurements and from seismic data are compared from four moderate-size (less than M 6) earthquakes in southern California. The goal is to verify approximate detection capabilities of InSAR, assess differences in the results, and test how the two results can be reconciled. First, we calculated the expected surface deformation from all earthquakes greater than magnitude 4 in areas with available InSAR data (347 events). A search for deformation from the events in the interferograms yielded four possible events with magnitudes less than 6. The search for deformation was based on a visual inspection as well as cross-correlation in two dimensions between the measured signal and the expected signal. A grid-search algorithm was then used to estimate focal mechanism and depth from the InSAR data. The results were compared with locations and focal mechanisms from published catalogs. An independent relocation using seismic data was also performed. The seismic locations fell within the area of the expected rupture zone for the three events that show clear surface deformation. Therefore, the technique shows the capability to resolve locations with high accuracy and is applicable worldwide. The depths determined by InSAR agree with well-constrained seismic locations determined in a 3D velocity model. Depth control for well-imaged shallow events using InSAR data is good, and better than the seismic constraints in some cases. A major difficulty for InSAR analysis is the poor temporal coverage of InSAR data, which may make it impossible to distinguish deformation due to different earthquakes at the same location.
Additional publication details
Comparison of four moderate-size earthquakes in southern California using seismology and InSAR