Earthquake

Based on data from the Sentinel-1A satellite, this image shows how and where the land uplifted and sank from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015. The image was generated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Earth Observation Center (EOC) using data acquired by Sentinel-1A before and after the earthquake event. Image: DLR/EOC.

Definition

Sudden movement of a block of the Earth’s crust along a geological fault and associated ground shaking (IRDR Glossary).

Earthquake can be defined as the shaking of earth caused by waves moving on and below the earth's surface and causing: surface faulting, tremors vibration, liquefaction, landslides, aftershocks and/or tsunamis (WHO).

 

Facts and figures

The size or magnitude of earthquakes is determined by measuring the amplitude of the seismic waves recorded on a seismograph and the distance of the seismograph from the earthquake. These are put into a formula which converts them to a magnitude, which is a measure of the energy released by the earthquake. For every unit increase in magnitude, there is roughly a thirty-fold increase in the energy released. Earthquake magnitude was traditionally measured on the Richter scale. It is often now calculated from seismic moment, which is proportional to the fault area multiplied by the average displacement on the fault (Australian Government).

There are four different types of earthquakes: tectonic, volcanic, collapse and explosion.

  • A tectonic earthquake is one that occurs when the earth's crust breaks due to geological forces on rocks and adjoining plates that cause physical and chemical changes.
  • A volcanic earthquake is any earthquake that results from tectonic forces which occur in conjunction with volcanic activity.
  • A collapse earthquake are small earthquakes in underground caverns and mines that are caused by seismic waves produced from the explosion of rock on the surface.
  • An explosion earthquake is an earthquake that is the result of the detonation of a nuclear and/or chemical device.
 

Related content on the Knowledge Portal

SAM Satellite

The satellites SPOT 4 (Satellite Probatoire de l'Observation de la Terre) was a second generation of SPOT earth observation satellite operated by Spot Image.

SPOT 4 used the improved bus design, which differed from the earlier SPOT series by having an increased lifetime of five years instead of three, a new extended platform design and service module, which can accommodate twice the payload. The propulsion module consists of a frame made of aluminum bars and two capillary tanks holding 158 kg of hydrazine.

The prime imaging instrument was HRVIR (High-Resolution Visible and Infrared sensor), which consisted of two pushbroom imaging units, an improved version of HRV. The two spectral modes are panchromatic and multispectral. The panchromatic band had a resolution of 10 meters, and the three multispectral bands (G,R,NIR) have resolutions of 20 meters.

An additional sensor for SPOT-4, called Vegetation or VMI (Vegetation Monitoring Instrument), with a ground swath... read more

Launch date:
24/03/1998

The satellites SPOT 1, 2 and 3 (Satellite Probatoire de l'Observation de la Terre) were the first generation of SPOT earth observation satellites operated by Spot Image.

The first generation SPOT satellites were built on the SPOT Mk.1 bus with a lifetime of three years.

The SPOT satellites were identical, with each carrying two identical HRV (High Resolution Visible) imaging instruments that were able to operate in two modes, either simultaneously or individually. The two spectral modes are panchromatic and multispectral. The panchromatic band had a resolution of 10 meters, and the three multispectral bands (G,R,NIR) have resolutions of 20 meters.

SPOT 3 was orbited on 26 September 1993 on an Ariane-40 H10 rocket. It ended operations in November 1996 due to problems with its stabilization system.

Instruments: 2 HRVs
- 4 spectral bands (1 panchromatic, 3 multispectral)
- imaging swath: 60km x 60km to 80km

Launch date:
26/09/1993

The satellites SPOT 1, 2 and 3 (Satellite Probatoire de l'Observation de la Terre) were the first generation of SPOT earth observation satellites operated by Spot Image.

The first generation SPOT satellites were built on the SPOT Mk.1 bus with a lifetime of three years.

The SPOT satellites were identical, with each carrying two identical HRV (High Resolution Visible) imaging instruments that were able to operate in two modes, either simultaneously or individually. The two spectral modes are panchromatic and multispectral. The panchromatic band had a resolution of 10 meters, and the three multispectral bands (G,R,NIR) have resolutions of 20 meters.

SPOT-2 was launched on 22 January 1990, on an Ariane-40 H10 rocket. It operated until July 2009. Its orbit was lowered to ensure reentry within 25 years.

Instruments: 2 HRVs
- 4 spectral bands (1 panchromatic, 3 multispectral)
- imaging swath: 60km x 60km to 80km

Launch date:
22/01/1990

The satellites SPOT 1, 2 and 3 (Satellite Probatoire de l'Observation de la Terre) were the first generation of SPOT earth observation satellites operated by Spot Image.

The first generation SPOT satellites were built on the SPOT Mk.1 bus with a lifetime of three years.

The SPOT satellites were identical, with each carrying two identical HRV (High Resolution Visible) imaging instruments that were able to operate in two modes, either simultaneously or individually. The two spectral modes are panchromatic and multispectral. The panchromatic band had a resolution of 10 meters, and the three multispectral bands (G,R,NIR) have resolutions of 20 meters.

SPOT 1 was launched with the last Ariane-1 rocket on 22 February 1986. At the end of operations in 2003, the orbit was lowered to gradually lose altitude until reentry.

Instruments: 2 HRVs
- 4 spectral bands (1 panchromatic, 3 multispectral)
- imaging swath: 60km x 60km to 80km

Launch date:
22/02/1986

Landsat 5 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on March 1, 1984, and like Landsat 4, carried the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM) instruments. Landsat 5 delivered Earth imaging data nearly 29 years - and set a Guinness World Record For 'Longest Operating Earth Observation Satellite', before being decommissioned on June 5, 2013.
The Landsat 5 satellite orbited the the Earth in a sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit, at an altitude of 705 km (438 mi), inclined at 98.2 degrees, and circled the Earth every 99 minutes.  The satellite had a 16-day repeat cycle with an equatorial crossing time: 9:45 a.m. +/- 15 minutes.  Landsat 5 data were acquired on the Worldwide Reference System-2 (WRS-2) path/row system, with swath overlap (or sidelap) varying from 7 percent at the Equator to a maximum of approximately 85 percent at extreme latitudes. 
Landsat 5 long outlived its original three-year design life. Developed by NASA and launched in... read more

Launch date:
01/03/1984

Landsat 4 was launched on July 16, 1982. The Landsat 4 spacecraft was significantly different than that of the previous Landsats, and Landsat 4 did not carry the RBV instrument.
In addition to the Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) instrument, Landsat 4 (and Landsat 5) carried a sensor with improved spectral and spatial resolution, i.e., the new satellites could see a wider (and more scientifically-tailored) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and could see the ground in greater detail. This new instrument was known as the Thematic Mapper (TM).
Landsat 4 was kept in orbit for housekeeping telemetry command and tracking data (which it downlinked via a separate data path, the S-band) until it was decommissioned in 2001.
While Landsat 4 was built and launched by NASA, NOAA initially oversaw the operations of the satellite. Landsat 4 operations were contracted out to the Earth Observation Satellite Company (EOSAT) corporation in 1984.
... read more

Launch date:
16/07/1982

Landsat 3 was launched on March 5, 1978, three years after Landsat 2.
The Landsat program’s technical and scientific success together with political and economic pressures lead to the decision to commercialize an operational Landsat. To this end, responsibility was slated to shift from NASA (a research and development agency) to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency charged with operating the weather satellites. This was done via Presidential Directive/NSC-54 signed on Nov. 16, 1979 which assigned NOAA “management responsibility for civil operational land remote sensing activites.” (However, operational management was not transfered from NASA to NOAA until 1983).
Landsat 3 carried the same sensors as its predecessor: the Return Beam Vidicon (RBV) and the Multispectral Scanner (MSS). The RBV instrument on-board Landsat 3 had an improved 38 m ground... read more

Launch date:
05/03/1978

Landsat 2 was launched into space onboard a Delta 2910 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on January 22, 1975, two and a half years after Landsat 1. Originally named ERTS-B (Earth Resource Technology Satellite B), the spacecraft was renamed Landsat 2 prior to launch. The second Landsat was still considered an experimental project and was operated by NASA.
Landsat 2 carried the same sensors as its predecessor: the Return Beam Vidicon (RBV) and the Multispectral Scanner System (MSS).
On February 25, 1982 after seven years of service, Landsat 2 was removed from operations due to yaw control problems; it was offically decommissioned on July 27, 1983.

Instruments:
Return Beam Vidicon (RBV)
Multispectral Scanner (MSS)
 

Launch date:
22/01/1975

Landsat 1 was launched on July 23, 1972; at that time the satellite was known as the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS). It was the first Earth-observing satellite to be launched with the express intent to study and monitor our planet’s landmasses. To perform the monitoring, Landsat 1 carried two instruments: a camera system built by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) called the Return Beam Vidicon (RBV), and the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) built by the Hughes Aircraft Company. The RBV was supposed to be the prime instrument, but the MSS data were found to be superior. In addition, the RBV instrument was the source of an electrical transient that caused the satellite to briefly lose altitude control, according to the Landsat 1 Program Manager, Stan Weiland.
To help understand the data and to explore the potential applications of this new technology, NASA oversaw 300 private research investigators. Nearly one third of these were international scientists. These... read more

Launch date:
23/07/1972

News

Sign warning of volcanic activity in Ecuador. Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

The use of multi-risk information systems is crucial in confronting the increasing risks posed by natural hazards. In some cases, risk is increasing due to inadequate land-use norms or regulations that allow for the construction of infrastructure in areas exposed to such natural hazards. In other cases, vulnerability increases due to lack of awareness or extreme poverty.  The need to address risks from the point of view of multiple hazards is necessary to contribute to sustainable development and has been incorporated as an essential element of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.  For this purpose, the RIESGOS 2.0 project was launched in March 2021. Under the coordination of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the project builds on the accomplishments of its predecessor - RIESGOS - as a multi-risk information system that models and simulates natural hazards to support disaster... read more

Publishing date: 17/03/2021

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