Damage from two powerful 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes which rattled Southern California on July 4 and July 5, is visible from space. 

US space agency NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has obtained stunning technicolor satellite images detailing the damage that earthquakes left behind.

The NASA Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team used synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from the ALOS-2 satellite to produce a map showing surface displacement from the California earthquakes.

The post-earthquake imagery was acquired on Monday, July 8 and compared with April 2018 data from the same area.

Each color cycle – from yellow to yellow for example – represents 12cm (4.8 inches) of ground displacement either toward or away from the satellite. The linear features that cut the color fringes in the southeast indicate likely locations of surface rupture caused by the earthquakes.

State and federal scientists, including those from the California Geological Survey and USGS, are using this surface deformation map in the field for assessing the damages and mapping the faults that broke during the two major earthquakes as well as the thousands of aftershocks, potential landslides, among other earthquake impacts, and are making them available to response agencies

NASA’s Disasters Program promotes the use of satellite observations in predicting, preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters around the world.

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