USGS - VHP InSAR Research Group


Interferogram showing uplift about 3 miles west of South Sister; Interferogram by C. Wicks

Interferogram showing uplift about 3 miles west of South Sister


This site provides mostly nontechnical information about InSAR, an exciting new remote-sensing technique used to study, among other things, volcanoes and earthquakes. InSAR stands for Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar. Satellites record images of the Earth's surface, and these images can be combined to show subtle movements of the ground surface, called deformation.

InSAR is a proven technique for mapping ground deformation using radar images from Earth-orbiting satellites. InSAR greatly extends the ability of scientists to monitor volcanoes because, unlike other techniques that rely on measurements at a few points, InSAR produces a spatially complete map of ground deformation with centimeter-scale accuracy without subjecting field crews to hazardous conditions on the ground. This project combines InSAR results with those from other geodetic techniques including the Global Positioning System (GPS), borehole sensors such as dilatometers and tiltmeters, and precise leveling to characterize ground deformation at volcanoes in space and time. The resulting data help to constrain models of the causes of volcanic unrest, which in turn aids in the assessment of short-term volcano hazards. More detail can be found by checking out the InSAR Fact Sheet: Monitoring Ground Deformation from Space by Rosalind L. Helz.

The Research Group

The InSAR Research Group is composed of many scientists in various locations for the purpose of studying ground deformation. Find out who they are at the Group Members page. Learn more about what they do from information posted on the InSAR Research Results page.

Learn more about InSAR.

Other methods for monitoring ground deformation:
EDM | Tiltmeters | GPS

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