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Earthquake damage seen from space

By: Katherine Butler on Sept. 23, 2012, 4:09 p.m.
Hector Mine earthquake on radar

Photo: Gilles Peltzer/JPL/UCLA

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Hector Mine, Calif.

The Hector Mine earthquake was a magnitude-7.1 shaker that rattled the earth near Barstow, Calif., on Oct. 16, 1999. Because the earthquake happened in a remote part of the Mojave Desert, there was no significant damage and only minor injuries. However, effects of the earthquake were felt throughout southern California, in Las Vegas and as far away as Carson City, Nev.


Pictured here is an image of the earthquake using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) to measure the displacement. This type of radar uses earth science and remote sensing, which experts hope to use to determine when stressed areas on Earth may be ready to shake.


Here we see the stress transients in this earthquake where each full-color cycle represents 10 centimeters of range displacement. NASA acquired this data from the European Space Agency ERS-2 satellite.