Global earthquake response with imaging geodesy: recent examples from the USGS NEIC

Remote Sensing
By: , and 



The U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center leads real-time efforts to provide rapid and accurate assessments of the impacts of global earthquakes, including estimates of ground shaking, ground failure, and the resulting human impacts. These efforts primarily rely on analysis of the seismic wavefield to characterize the source of the earthquake, which in turn informs a suite of disaster response products such as ShakeMap and PAGER. In recent years, the proliferation of rapidly acquired and openly available in-situ and remotely sensed geodetic observations has opened new avenues for responding to earthquakes around the world in the days following significant events. Geodetic observations, particularly from interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and satellite optical imagery, provide a means to robustly constrain the dimensions and spatial complexity of earthquakes beyond what is typically possible with seismic observations alone. Here, we document recent cases where geodetic observations contributed important information to earthquake response efforts – from informing and validating seismically-derived source models to independently constraining earthquake impact products – and the conditions under which geodetic observations improve earthquake response products. We use examples from the 2013 Mw7.7 Baluchistan, Pakistan, 2014 Mw6.0 Napa, California, 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha, Nepal, and 2018 Mw7.5 Palu, Indonesia earthquakes to highlight the varying ways geodetic observations have contributed to earthquake response efforts at the NEIC. We additionally provide a synopsis of the workflows implemented for geodetic earthquake response. As remote sensing geodetic observations become increasingly available and the frequency of satellite acquisitions continues to increase, operational earthquake geodetic imaging stands to make critical contributions to natural disaster response efforts around the world.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Global earthquake response with imaging geodesy: recent examples from the USGS NEIC
Series title Remote Sensing
DOI 10.3390/rs11111357
Volume 11
Issue 11
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher MDPI
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 1357, 20 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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