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Rapid Damage Mapping for the 2015 M_w 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data from COSMO–SkyMed and ALOS-2 Satellites

Yun, Sang-Ho and Hudnut, Kenneth and Owen, Susan and Webb, Frank and Simons, Mark and Sacco, Patrizia and Gurrola, Eric and Manipon, Gerald and Liang, Cunren and Fielding, Eric and Milillo, Pietro and Hua, Hook and Coletta, Alessandro (2015) Rapid Damage Mapping for the 2015 M_w 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data from COSMO–SkyMed and ALOS-2 Satellites. Seismological Research Letters, 86 (6). pp. 1549-1556. ISSN 0895-0695. doi:10.1785/0220150152.

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The 25 April 2015 M_w 7.8 Gorkha earthquake caused more than 8000 fatalities and widespread building damage in central Nepal. The Italian Space Agency’s COSMO–SkyMed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite acquired data over Kathmandu area four days after the earthquake and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 SAR satellite for larger area nine days after the mainshock. We used these radar observations and rapidly produced damage proxy maps (DPMs) derived from temporal changes in Interferometric SAR coherence. Our DPMs were qualitatively validated through comparison with independent damage analyses by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme, and based on our own visual inspection of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView optical pre- versus postevent imagery. Our maps were quickly released to responding agencies and the public, and used for damage assessment, determining inspection/imaging priorities, and reconnaissance fieldwork.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Yun, Sang-Ho0000-0001-6952-6156
Hudnut, Kenneth0000-0002-3168-4797
Simons, Mark0000-0003-1412-6395
Liang, Cunren0000-0003-3938-426X
Fielding, Eric0000-0002-6648-8067
Milillo, Pietro0000-0002-1171-3976
Additional Information:© 2015 Seismological Society of America. The COSMO–SkyMed data were made available for disaster response by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) radar data were made available by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) through the Committee on Earth Observation Satellite (CEOS) in support of the response effort. The Global Urban Footprint was provided by German Aerospace Center (DLR) for disaster response. We thank Matthew Gamm and his team with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Thomas Esch with DLR, Keiko Saito with the World Bank, Shay Har-Noy, and Andrew Steele with Digital Globe, David Saeger with Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)/United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mir Matin, and Deo Raj Gurung with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Jon Pedder with Esri, and Mike Rubel with Planet Labs for supportive coordination and analysis for response. Constructive comments from Susan Hough, Gerald Bawden, and two anonymous reviewers improved the article. This research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Applied Sciences/Disasters Program and Advanced Information Systems Technology (AIST) Program, and performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151204-093621926
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Official Citation:Sang-Ho Yun, Kenneth Hudnut, Susan Owen, Frank Webb, Mark Simons, Patrizia Sacco, Eric Gurrola, Gerald Manipon, Cunren Liang, Eric Fielding, Pietro Milillo, Hook Hua, and Alessandro Coletta Rapid Damage Mapping for the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data from COSMO–SkyMed and ALOS-2 Satellites Seismological Research Letters, November/December 2015, v. 86, p. 1549-1556, doi:10.1785/0220150152
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:62605
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Dec 2015 18:22
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:04

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