SAR interferometry using ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 data for the Mw 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal earthquake

Ryo Natsuaki*, Hiroto Nagai, Takeshi Motohka, Masato Ohki, Manabu Watanabe, Rajesh B. Thapa, Takeo Tadono, Masanobu Shimada, Shinichi Suzuki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2, "DAICHI-2") has been observing Nepal with the Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar-2 (PALSAR-2) in response to an emergency request from Sentinel Asia related to the Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake on April 25, 2015. PALSAR-2 successfully detected not only avalanches and local crustal displacements but also continental-scale deformation. Especially, by the use of the ScanSAR mode, we are able to make interferograms that cover the entire displacement area of the earthquake. However, we did encounter some fundamental problems with the ScanSAR and incorrect settings of PALSAR-2 operation that have now been fixed. They include (1) burst overlap misalignment between two ScanSAR observations, which limits the number of pairs available and the quality of the interferogram, (2) non-crustal fringes which are derived from co-registration error and/or ionospheric effect and, (3) incorrect setting of the center frequency in the Stripmap beam F2-6. In this paper, we describe their problems and solutions. The number of interferometric pairs are limited by (1) and (3). The accuracy of the interferograms are limited by (2) and (3). The experimental results showed that current solutions for (2) and (3) work appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalEarth, Planets and Space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • ALOS-2
  • Gorkha earthquake
  • InSAR
  • PALSAR-2
  • ScanSAR interferometry
  • Stripmap-ScanSAR interferometry
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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