Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NASA’S ASTER Instrument Observes Haiti Quake Aftermath

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft captured this simulated natural color image of the Port-au-Prince, Haiti, area, Jan. 14, 2010, two days after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the region and caused massive damage and loss of life. While ASTER’s 15-meter (50-foot) resolution is not sufficient to see damaged buildings, it can be used to identify other results of the shaking. The red circles superimposed on the image indicate possible landslides, a common occurrence in mountainous terrain after large earthquakes. The possible landslides were identified by carefully comparing the new image with an image acquired one year previously.

NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite with the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) instrument aboard took an image centered on Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Friday, January 15, 2010, three days after the earthquake. The picture on the left is the entire ALI image. The lower right image is a zoom-in of Port-au-Prince, while the upper right image is the same view taken in September 2008, one week after Hurricane Ike. Significant features can be seen in both zoom images. Hurricane Ike unleashed torrential rains that caused severe flooding as depicted (upper right image) in the excessive discharge of sediment at the river delta, just north of downtown Port-au-Prince. The pier in the center of the 2008 image collapsed during the earthquake and is not visible in the 2010 image (lower right image).


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