Coseismic Deformation of Chi-Chi Earthquake as Detected by Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry and GPS Data

Abstract

A rupture in the Chelungpu fault caused an Mw 7.6 earthquake on 21 September 1999 near Chi-Chi in central Taiwan. This earthquake was the most destructive experienced in Taiwan for the past century along this fault. In this study, we examined the earthquake-induced surface deformation pattern using differential synthetic aperture radar interferometry (D-InSAR) combined with global positioning system (GPS) data regarding the footwall of the Chelungpu fault. Six synthetic aperture radar (SAR) scenes, approximately 100 × 100 km each, recorded by the European Remote Sensing Satellite 2 (ERS-2), spanning the rupture area, were selected for study. The data were used to generate a high-resolution, wide-area map of displacements in flat or semi-flat areas. Interferograms show radar line contours indicating line-of-sight (LOS) changes corresponding to surface displacements caused by earthquake ruptures. These results were compared to synthetic interferograms generated from GPS data. Displacements shown by GPS data were interpolated onto wide-area maps and transformed to coincide with the radar LOS direction. The resulting coseismic displacement contour map showed a lobed pattern consistent with the precise GPSbased displacement field. Highly accurate vertical displacement was determined using D-InSAR data using the coordinate transform method, while GPS data was effective in showing the horizontal component. Thus, this study confirmed the effectiveness of the D-InSAR method for determining the coseismic deformation caused by the Chi-Chi earthquake at the footwall of the Chelungpu fault.

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