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Summary of Proposal GEO0609

TitleTerraSAR-X interferometric observations of tectonic and magmatic processes in Iceland laboratory area
Investigator Sigmundsson, Freysteinn - University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences
Team Member
Dr. Hooper, Andy - University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment
Dr. Feigl, Kurt - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Geology and Geophysics
SummaryThe objective of the project is to demonstrate TerraSAR-X interferometry as an important tool for monitoring of seismic and volcanic hazards. TerraSAR-X StripMap mode interferometry will carried out at seven sites within the active zones of Iceland that are of special interest: i) South-west Iceland oblique spreading plate boundary, ii) South Iceland seismic zone and Hengill volcano, iii) Krafla volcanic system, iv) Hekla volcano and the propagating rift in south Iceland, v) Katla/Eyjafjallajokull volcanoes in south Iceland, vi) Askja volcanic system and vii) Kverkfjoll volcanic system. Images covering these sites will actually cover a large part of all the active zones in Iceland, including some subglacial volcanoes. In the case of a sub-glacial eruption, we will attempt to map the deformation that may occur outside the icecap covering the volcano. We propose a time span of three years of TerraSAR-X monitoring, 2009-2011. The period is sufficiently long to measure significant deformation with reasonable confidence. Although it is not certain that a volcanic eruption or a large earthquake will occur in Iceland during the study period, the many types of ongoing deformation in Iceland, and their high rate, ensures that we will be able to capture deformation signals of some sort. Data are requested in StripMap mode Single Look Slant Range Complex data for this project. We ask for scenes in both ascending and descending orbital passes, in order to observe different components of deformation (along different lines of sight), and to have independent observations. We will compare both the area over which we are able to extract a well-correlated deformation signal, and the accuracy of the extracted signal to that of Envisat ASAR and available ground truth. Our procedure will necessarily compare summer-time images from different years, as extensive snow cover in Iceland excludes the use of winter-time images for studying ground deformation by interferometry. Experience from ERS and Envisat data shows that despite heavy snow cover during winters, good coherence is recovered in summer time images over at least four years for C-band. Each of our seven sites of main interest within the active zones in Iceland will require 6 SLC scenes for complete coverage (ascending and descending), or a total of 42 for the one coverage of the seven test sites. If these are acquired three times per summer for three summers, 378 images are required. In addition we anticipate requesting an extra 60 images per year, when signs of impending activity occur, such as is currently occurring at Eyjafjallajokull. This flexible option adds a total of 180 images. A total requested quota of 558 images in total. Deliverables include a minimum of three scientific articles describing the interferometric analysis and their constraints on deformation processes. Annual reports to DLR and yearly presentations at international scientific conferences will also be delivered. The three universities involved will cover the salary costs of the team. The team members will seek students to complement and extend their research. Computer facilities, and travel to meetings and joint work will be sought from complementary proposals to various national and international science agencies. For example, Feigl has two grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation for InSAR work in Iceland. The high cost of a large number of images is an issue. Considering the exceptional opportunities for interferometric observations of volcanic and seismic processes in Iceland, we ask for a consideration of 50% reduction in price from the standard price of 160 euros per scene.

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