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North-South displacement field - 1999 Hector-Mine earthquake, California
In complement to seismological records, the knowledge of the ruptured fault geometry and co-seismic ground displacements are key data to investigate the mechanics of seismic rupture. This information can be retrieved from sub-pixel correlation of optical images. We are investigating the use of SPOT (Satellite pour l'Observation de la Terre) satellites images.
The technique developed here is attractive due to the operational status of a number of optical imaging programs and the availability of archived data. However, uncertainties on the imaging system itself and on its attitude dramatically limit its potential. We overcome these limitations by applying an iterative corrective process allowing for precise image registration that takes advantage of the availability of accurate Digital Elevation Models with global coverage (SRTM).
This technique is thus a valuable complement to SAR interferometry which provides accurate measurements kilometers away from the fault but generally fails in the near-fault zone where the fringes get noisy and saturated. Comparison between the two methods is briefly discussed, with application on the 1992 Landers earthquake in California (Mw 7.3).
Applications of this newly developped technique are presented: the horizontal co-seismic displacement fields induced by the 1999 Hector-Mine earthquake in California (Mw 7.1) and by the 1999 Chichi earthquake in Taiwan (Mw 7.5) have recently been retrieved using archive images. Data obtained can be downloaded (see further down)
Latest Study Cases
Sub-pixel correlation of optical images
Following is the flow chart of the technique that as been developped. It allows for precise orthorectification and coregistration of the SPOT images. More details about the optimization process will be given in the next sections.
Understanding the disparities measured from Optical Images
Differences in geometry between the two images to be registered:
- Uncertainties on attitudes parameters (roll, pitch, yaw)
- Inaccuracy on orbital parameters (position, velocity)
- Incidence angle differences + topography uncertainties (parallax effect)
- Optical and Electronic biases (optical aberrations, CCD misalignment, focal length, sampling period, etc… )
» May account for disparities up to 800 m on SPOT 1,2,3,4 images; 50m for SPOT 5 (see ).
- Earthquakes, land slides, etc…
» Typically subpixel scale: ranging from 0 to 10 meters.
- Changes in vegetation, rivers, changes in urban areas, etc…
» Correlation is lost: add noise to the measurement – up to 1m.
» Ground deformations are largely dominated by the geometrical artifacts.
Precise registration: geometrical corrections
SPOT (Systeme pour l'Observation de la Terre) satellites are pushbroom imaging systems (,): all optical parts remain fixed during acquisition and the scanning is accomplished by the forward motion of the spacecraft. Each line in the image is then acquired at a different time and submitted to the different variations of the platform.
The orthorectification process consists in modeling and correcting these variations to produce cartographic distortion free images. It is then possible to accurately register images and look for their disparities using correlation techniques.
Attitude variations (roll, pitch, and yaw) during the scanning process have to be integrated in the image model (see ,).
Errors in correcting the satellite look directions will result in projecting the image pixels at the wrong location on the ground: important parallax artifacts will be seen when measuring displacement between two images.
Exact pixel projection on the ground is achieved through an optimization algorithm that iteratively corrects the look directions by selecting ground control points. An accurate topography model has to be used.
What parameters to optimize?
- Initial attitudes values of the platform (roll, pitch, yaw),
- Constant drift of the attitude values along the image acquisition,
- Focal length (different value depending on the instrument , HRG1 – HRG2),
- Position and velocity.
How to optimize:
Iterative algorithm using a set of GCPs (Ground Control Points). GCPs are generated automatically with a subpixel accuracy: they result from a correlation between an orthorectified reference frame and the rectified image whose parameters are to be optimized.
A two stages procedure:
- One of the image is optimized with respect to the shaded DEM (GCP are generated from the correlation with the shaded DEM). The DEM is then considered as the ground truth. No GPS points are needed.
- The other image is then optimized using another set of GCP resulting from the correlation with the first image (co-registration).
Measuring co-seismic deformation with InSAR, a comparison
A fringe represents a near-vertical displacement of 2.8 cm
SAR interferogram (ERS): near-vertical component of the ground displacement induced by the 1992 Landers earthquake [Massonnet et al., 1993].
No organized fringes in a band within 5-10 km of the fault trace: displacement sufficiently large that the change in range across a radar pixel exceeds one fringe per pixel, coherence is lost.
» SAR interferometry is not a suitable technique to measure near fault displacements
The 1992 Landers earthquake revisited:
Profile in offsets and elastic modeling show good agreement
From:  - Measuring earthqakes from optical satellite images, Van Puymbroeck, Michel, Binet, Avouac, Taboury - Applied Optics Vol. 39, No 20, 10 July 2000
Other applications of the technique, see , .
» Fault ruptures can be imaged from this technique
Applying the precise rectification algorithm + subpixel correlation:
The 1999 Hector-Mine earthquake (Mw 7.1, California)
Obtaining the Data (available in ENVI file Format. Load banbs as gray scale images. Bands are: N/S offsets, E/W offsets, SNR):
Raw and filtered results: HectorMine.zip
SPOT 4, acquisition date: 08-17-1998
Ground resolution: 10m
SPOT 2, acquisition date: 08-18-2000
Ground resolution: 10m
Offsets measured from correlation:
Correspond to sub-pixel offsets in the raw images.
Correlation windows: 32 x 32 pixels
96m between two measurements
So far we have:
- A precise mapping of the rupture zone: the offsets field have a resolution of 96 m,
- Measurements with a subpixel accuracy (displacement of at most 10 meters),
- Improved the global georeferencing of the images with no GPS measurements,
- Improved the processing time since the GCP selection is automatic,
- Suppressed the main attitude artifacts. The profiles do not show any long wavelength deformations (See Dominguez et al. 2003)
- Linear artifacts in the along track direction due to CCD misalignments,
Schematic of a DIVOLI showing four CCD linear arrays.
- Some topographic artifacts: the image resolution is higher than the DEM one,
- Several decorrelations due to rivers and clouds,
- High frequency noise due to the noise sensitivity of the Fourier correlator (See Van Puymbroeck et al.).
Subpixel correlation technique has been improved to overcome most of its limitations:
» Precise rectification and co-registration of the images,
» No more topographic effects (depending on the DEM resolution),
» No need for GPS points – independent and automatic algorithm,
» Better spatial resolution (See Van Puymbroeck et al.)
To be improved:
» Stripes due to the CCD’s misalignment,
» high frequency noise from the correlator,
» Process images with corrupted telemetry.
» The subpixel correlation technique appears to be a valuable complement to SAR interferometry for ground deformation measurements.
 SPOT 5 geometry handbook:
 SPOT User's Handbook Volume 1 - Reference Manual:
 SPOT 5 Technical Summary
 Dominguez S., J.P. Avouac, R. Michel Horizontal co-seismic deformation of the 1999
Chi-Chi earthquake measured from SPOT satellite images: implications for the
seismic cycle along the western foothills of Central Taiwan, J. Geophys. Res., 107,
10 1029/2001JB00482, 2003.
 Michel, R. et J.P., Avouac, Deformation due to the 17 August Izmit earthquake measured
from SPOT images, J. Geophys. Res., 107, 10 1029/2000JB000102, 2002.
 Van Puymbroeck, N., Michel, R., Binet, R., Avouac, J.P. and Taboury, J. Measuring
earthquakes from optical satellite images, Applied Optics Information Processing, 39,
23, 3486–3494, 2000.
Leprince S., Barbot S., Ayoub F., Avouac, J.P. Automatic, Precise, Ortho-rectification and Co-registration for Satellite Image Correlation, Application to Seismotectonics.
To be submitted.
F Levy, Y Hsu, M Simons, S Leprince, J Avouac. Distribution of coseismic slip for the 1999 ChiChi Taiwan earthquake: New data and implications of varying 3D fault geometry.
AGU 2005 Fall meeting, San Francisco.
M Taylor, S Leprince, J Avouac. A Study of the 2002 Denali Co-seismic Displacement Using SPOT Horizontal Offsets, Field Measurements, and Aerial Photographs.
AGU 2005 Fall meeting, San Francisco.
Y Kuo, F Ayoub, J Avouac, S Leprince, Y Chen, J H Shyu, Y Kuo. Co-seismic Horizontal Ground Slips of 1999 Chi-Chi Earthquake (Mw 7.6) Deduced From Image-Comparison of Satellite SPOT and Aerial Photos. AGU 2005 Fall meeting, San Francisco.