Coseismic displacements of the 14 November 2016 Mw7.8 Kaikoura,
New Zealand, earthquake using an optical cubesat constellation
Andreas Kääb1, Bas Altena1, and Joseph Mascaro21Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, 0316, Norway 2Planet, San Francisco, postal code 94103, USA
Received: 20 Jan 2017 – Accepted for review: 26 Jan 2017 – Discussion started: 27 Jan 2017
Abstract. Satellite measurements of coseismic displacements are typically based on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) interferometry or amplitude tracking, or based on optical data such as from Landsat, Sentinel-2, SPOT, ASTER, very-high resolution satellites, or airphotos. Here, we evaluate a new class of optical satellite images for this purpose – data from cubesats. More specific, we investigate the PlanetScope cubesat constellation for horizontal surface displacements by the 14 November 2016 Mw7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake. Single PlanetScope scenes are 2–4 m resolution visible and near-infrared frame images of approximately 20–30 km × 9–15 km in size, acquired in continuous sequence along an orbit of approximately 375–475 km height. From single scenes or mosaics from before and after the earthquake we observe surface displacements of up to almost 10 m and estimate a matching accuracy from PlanetScope data of up to ±0.2 pixels (~ ±0.6 m). This accuracy, the daily revisit anticipated for the PlanetScope constellation for the entire land surface of Earth, and a number of other features, together offer new possibilities for investigating coseismic and other Earth surface displacements and managing related hazards and disasters, and complement existing SAR and optical methods. For comparison and for a better regional overview we also match the coseismic displacements by the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake using Landsat8 and Sentinel-2 data.
Kääb, A., Altena, B., and Mascaro, J.: Coseismic displacements of the 14 November 2016 Mw7.8 Kaikoura,
New Zealand, earthquake using an optical cubesat constellation, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-30, in review, 2017.