Description: The northern Tien Shan of Central Asia is an area of active mid-continent deformation. Although far from a plate boundary, this region has experienced 5 earthquakes larger than magnitude 7 in the past century and includes one event that may as be as large as Mw 8.0. Previous studies based on GPS measurements indicate on the order of 23 mm/yr of shortening across the entire Tien Shan and up to 15 mm/year in the northern Tien Shan (Figure 1). The seismic moment release rate appears comparable with the geodetic measured slip, at least to first order, suggesting that geodetic rates can be considered a proxy for accumulation rates of stress for seismic hazard estimation. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar may provide a means to make detailed spatial measurements and hence in identifying block boundaries and assisting in seismic hazard. Therefore, we hoped to define block boundaries by direct measurement and by identifying and resolving earthquake slip. Due to political instability in Kyrgzystan, the existing seismic network has not performed as well as required to precisely determine earthquake hypocenters in remote areas and hence InSAR is highly useful. In this paper we present the result of three earthquake studies and show that InSAR is useful for refining locations of teleseismically located earthquakes. ALOS PALSAR data is used to investigate crustal motion in the Tien Shan mountains of Central Asia. As part of the work, considerable software development was undertaken to process PALSAR data. This software has been made freely available. Two damaging earthquakes have been imaged in the Tien Shan and the locations provided by ALOS InSAR have helped to refine seismological velocity models. A third earthquake south of Kyrgyzstan was also imaged. The use of InSAR data and especially L band is therefore very useful in providing groundtruth for earthquake locations.
Date: February 25, 2011
Creator: Mellors, R J
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