Science Service System

Summary of Proposal GEO3453

Title Environmental controls on landslide motion revealed by InSAR and pixel offset tracking
Investigator Handwerger, Alexander - NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Earth Surface And Interior
Team Member
Dr Fielding, Eric - NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Earth Surface And Interior
Dr Bürgmann, Roland - University of California Berkeley, Earth and Planetary Science

This project focuses on improving the understanding of the mechanisms that govern landslide motion by studying over 200 active slow-moving landslides in Northern California using satellite and airborne InSAR and pixel offset tracking on SAR and optical images. Such knowledge is needed to better characterize and mitigate hazards associated with such large mobile landslide masses. The TerraSAR-X data will significantly improve our InSAR and pixel tracking processing by providing improved spatial and temporal resolution. Results from the proposed work will lead to fundamental advances in our knowledge of the spatio-temporal patterns of landslide motion in response to changes in environmental parameters such as rainfall, snowmelt, atmospheric pressure, and nearby earthquakes. They will also provide an opportunity to examine the effects of multi-year climate variations on the activity of landslides. The proposed study will provide critical information that can be used to improve and develop predictive landslide models and also help in designing future InSAR systems to better image landslide motion.

  • Objective: Use InSAR and pixel offset tracking with SAR and optical imagery to quantify the deformation history of landslides over daily to multi-year timescales. Examine how environmental forcings govern landslide behavior.
  • Objective: Examine the impact of the long-term climate forcings (e.g., 2012-2015 drought) on the landslides.
  • Objective: Analyze high-resolution topographic data to quantify metrics (e.g., slope, roughness) of unstable hillslopes.

Data requirements: We request all available TerraSAR-X archive data (both ascending and descending) in Stripmap mode covering our field site. At the time of writing this proposal, we found there are 66 available scenes that have been acquired more than 18 months ago (i.e. October 2013 and July 2015). These correspond to 1) Stripmap mode, ascending, Track 76, strip_006; and 2) descending, Track 38, strip_009.
This project is supported by NASA s Earth Surface and Interior program.

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