A science team at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has been using the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) to measure surface deformation from earthquakes. The radar produces map images that are called interferograms that show ground motion and increased strain along fault lines.
By comparing imagery collected over time, the scientists are able to better understand the complex geology of these regions. Through continued observation, particularly after a quake event, the scientists can determine how strain alters across a fault line, and can help determine if massing of strain along the fault is occurring, priming them to break. The UAVSAR sensor shows details at a much finer granularity than any other type of sensor.
Interesting research is taking place throughout the world to help determine a reliable precursor for earthquake detection:
Clearly, there are promising remote sensing technologies that will not only help us assess the damage from earthquake events, but also to predict and help mitigate their damage.