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DeSanto, JB, Sandwell DT, Chadwell CD.  2016.  Seafloor geodesy from repeated sidescan sonar surveys. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 121:4800-4813.   10.1002/2016jb013025   AbstractWebsite

Accurate seafloor geodetic methods are critical to the study of marine natural hazards such as megathrust earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes. We propose digital image correlation of repeated shipboard sidescan sonar surveys as a measurement of seafloor deformation. We test this method using multibeam surveys collected in two locales: 2500m deep lightly sedimented seafloor on the flank of a spreading ridge and 4300m deep heavily sedimented seafloor far from any plate boundary. Correlation of these surveys are able to recover synthetic displacements in the across-track (range) direction accurate to within 1m and in the along-track (azimuth) direction accurate to within 1-10m. We attribute these accuracies to the inherent resolution of sidescan data being better in the range dimension than the azimuth dimension. These measurements are primarily limited by the accuracy of the ship navigation. Dual-frequency GPS units are accurate to approximate to 10cm, but single-frequency GPS units drift on the order of 1m/h and are insufficient for geodetic application.

Neves, MC, Cabral J, Luttrell K, Figueiredo P, Rockwell T, Sandwell D.  2015.  The effect of sea level changes on fault reactivation potential in Portugal. Tectonophysics. 658:206-220.   10.1016/j.tecto.2015.07.023   AbstractWebsite

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of sea level changes on both the stress field and the potential of fault reactivation in west Iberia. The analysis is applied to a set of five active faults distributed across Portugal, selected for representing predominant fault directions and for being seismically active. The results show that the rise of sea level since the Last Glacial Maximum has produced flexural effects with distinct impacts on different faults. The Coulomb stress changes induced by the sea level rise along the S. Marcos-Quarteira (south Portugal) and the Horseshoe (offshore SW Iberia) faults are found to be extremely small, independently of the elastic plate thickness. These faults are thus unaffected by flexural effects related to ocean loading, and are unlikely to possess any paleoseismic record of this phenomenon. In contrast, the eustatic sea level rise during the late Pleistocene could have raised the Coulomb stress by 0.5-1 MPa along the Manteigas-Vilarica-Braganca (north Portugal) and Lower Tagus Valley (Lisbon area) fault systems. Such stress perturbations are probably sufficient to impact the seismic cycle of the Manteigas-Vilarica-Braganca fault, bringing it closer to failure and possibly triggering the earthquake clusters that have been observed in previous paleoseismologic studies. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Malinverni, ES, Sandwell DT, Tassetti AN, Cappelletti L.  2014.  InSAR decorrelation to assess and prevent volcanic risk. European Journal of Remote Sensing. 47:537-556.   10.5721/EuJRS20144730   AbstractWebsite

SAR can be invaluable describing pre-eruption surface deformation and improving the understanding of volcanic processes. This work studies correlation of pairs of SAR images focusing on the influence of surface, climate conditions and acquisition band. Chosen L-band and C-band images (ENVISAT, ERS and ALOS) cover most of the Yellowstone caldera (USA) over a span of 4 years, sampling all the seasons. Interferograms and correlation maps are generated and studied in relation to snow depth and temperature. To isolate temporal decorrelation pairs of images with the shortest baseline are chosen. Results show good performance during winter, bad attitude towards wet snow and good coherence during summer with L-band performing better over vegetation.

Crowell, BW, Bock Y, Sandwell DT, Fialko Y.  2013.  Geodetic investigation into the deformation of the Salton Trough. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 118:5030-5039.   10.1002/jgrb.50347   AbstractWebsite

The Salton Trough represents a complex transition between the spreading center in Baja California and the strike-slip San Andreas fault system and is one of the most active zones of deformation and seismicity in California. We present a high-resolution interseismic velocity field for the Salton Trough derived from 74 continuous GPS sites and 109 benchmarks surveyed in three GPS campaigns during 2008-2009 and previous surveys between 2000 and 2005. We also investigate small-scale deformation by removing the regional velocity field predicted by an elastic block model for Southern California from the observed velocities. We find a total extension rate of 11mm/yr from the Mesquite Basin to the southern edge of the San Andreas Fault, coupled with 15mm/yr of left-lateral shear, the majority of which is concentrated in the southern Salton Sea and Obsidian Buttes and is equivalent to 17mm/yr oriented in the direction of the San Andreas Fault. Differential shear strain is exclusively localized in the Brawley Seismic Zone, and dilatation rate indicates widespread extension throughout the zone. In addition, we infer clockwise rotation of 10 degrees/Ma, consistent with northwestward propagation of the Brawley Seismic Zone over geologic time.

Tong, XP, Sandwell D, Luttrell K, Brooks B, Bevis M, Shimada M, Foster J, Smalley R, Parra H, Soto JCB, Blanco M, Kendrick E, Genrich J, Caccamise DJ.  2010.  The 2010 Maule, Chile earthquake: Downdip rupture limit revealed by space geodesy. Geophysical Research Letters. 37   10.1029/2010gl045805   AbstractWebsite

Radar interferometry from the ALOS satellite captured the coseismic ground deformation associated with the 2010 Mw 8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake. The ALOS interferograms reveal a sharp transition in fringe pattern at similar to 150 km from the trench axis that is diagnostic of the downdip rupture limit of the Maule earthquake. An elastic dislocation model based on ascending and descending ALOS interferograms and 13 near-field 3-component GPS measurements reveals that the coseismic slip decreases more or less linearly from a maximum of 17 m (along-strike average of 6.5 m) at 18 km depth to near zero at 43-48 km depth, quantitatively indicating the downdip limit of the seismogenic zone. The depth at which slip drops to near zero appears to be at the intersection of the subducting plate with the continental Moho. Our model also suggests that the depth where coseismic slip vanishes is nearly uniform along the strike direction for a rupture length of similar to 600 km. The average coseismic slip vector and the interseismic velocity vector are not parallel, which can be interpreted as a deficit in strike-slip moment release. Citation: Tong, X., et al. (2010), The 2010 Maule, Chile earthquake: Downdip rupture limit revealed by space geodesy, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L24311, doi:10.1029/2010GL045805.

Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF, Gille S, Kappel E, Jayne S, Soofi K, Coakley B, Geli L.  2006.  Bathymetry from space: Rationale and requirements for a new, high-resolution altimetric mission. Comptes Rendus Geoscience. 338:1049-1062.   10.1016/j.crte.2006.05.014   AbstractWebsite

Bathymetry is foundational data, providing basic infrastructure for scientific, economic, educational, managerial, and political work. Applications as diverse as tsunami hazard assessment, communications cable and pipeline route planning, resource exploration, habitat management, and territorial claims under the Law of the Sea all require reliable bathymetric maps to be available on demand. Fundamental Earth science questions, such as what controls seafloor shape and how seafloor shape influences global climate, also cannot be answered without bathymetric maps having globally uniform detail. Current bathymetric, charts are inadequate for many of these applications because only a small fraction of the seafloor has been surveyed. Modern multibeam echosounders provide the best resolution, but it would take more than 200 ship-years and billions of dollars to complete the job. The seafloor topography can be charted globally, in five years, and at a cost under $100M. A radar altimeter mounted on an orbiting spacecraft can measure slight variations in ocean surface height, which reflect variations in the pull of gravity caused by seafloor topography. A new satellite altimeter mission, optimized to map the deep ocean bathymetry and gravity field, will provide a global map of the world's deep oceans at a resolution of 6-9 kin. This resolution threshold is critical for a large number of basic science and practical applications, including: determining the effects of bathymetry and seafloor roughness on ocean circulation, mixing, climate, and biological communities, habitats, and mobility; understanding the geologic processes responsible for ocean floor features unexplained by simple plate tectonics, such as abyssal hills, seamounts, microplates, and propagating rifts;. improving tsunami hazard forecast accuracy by mapping the deep-ocean topography that steers tsunami wave energy; mapping the marine gravity field to improve inertial navigation and provide homogeneous coverage of continental margins; providing bathymetric maps for numerous other practical applications, including reconnaissance for submarine cable and pipeline routes, improving tide models, and assessing potential territorial claims to the seabed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Because ocean bathymetry is a fundamental measurement of our planet, there is a broad spectrum of interest from government, the research community, industry, and the general public. Mission requirements. The resolution of the altimetry technique is limited by physical law, not instrument capability. Everything that can be mapped from space can be achieved now, and there is no gain in waiting for technological advances. Mission requirements for Bathymetry from Space are much less stringent and less costly than typical physical oceanography missions. Long-term sea-surface height accuracy is not needed; the fundamental measurement is the slope of the ocean surface to an accuracy of similar to 1 prad (1 mm km(-1)). The main mission requirements are: improved range precision (a factor of two or more improvement in altimeter range precision with respect to current altimeters is needed to reduce the noise due to ocean waves); - fine cross-track spacing and long mission duration (a ground track spacing of 6 km or less is required. A six-year mission would reduce the error by another factor of two); moderate inclination (existing satellite altimeters have relatively high orbital inclinations, thus their resolution of east-west components of ocean slope is poor at low latitudes. The new mission should have an orbital inclination close to 60 degrees or 120 degrees so as to resolve north-south and east-west components almost equally while still covering nearly all the world's ocean area); near-shore tracking (for applications near coastlines, the ability of the instrument to track the ocean surface close to shore, and acquire the surface soon after leaving land, is desirable).

Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF.  2001.  Bathymetric Estimation. Satellite altimetry and earth sciences : a handbook of techniques and applications. ( Fu L, Cazenave A, Eds.).:441-457., San Diego, Calif. ; London: Academic Abstract
Craig, CH, Sandwell DT.  1988.  Global Distribution of Seamounts from Seasat Profiles. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 93:10408-10420.   10.1029/JB093iB09p10408   AbstractWebsite

Bathymetry profiles and contour charts have been used to study the distribution of seamounts in the deep ocean basins, but only a small fraction of the seafloor has been sampled by ships. At the present exploration rate it will take several centuries to map significant portions of the seafloor topography. Satellite altimetry, which maps the topography of the equipotential sea surface, is a promising tool for studying the gravity fields of seamounts because all ocean basins can be sampled in a couple of years. Using a model of a Gaussian-shaped seamount loading a thin elastic lithosphere, we develop a new technique for measuring basic characteristics of a seamount from a single satellite altimeter profile. The model predicts that the seamount diameter is equal to the peak-to-trough distance along the vertical deflection profile and that the overall diameter of the signature reveals the age of the lithosphere when the seamount formed. Moreover, the model suggests that these two measurements are relatively insensitive to the cross-track location of the seamount. We confirm these model predictions using Seasat altimeter profiles crossing 14 well surveyed seamounts in the Pacific. We then apply the measurement technique to 26 × 106 million kilometers of Seasat profiles resulting in a new global set of seamount locations. Approximately one quarter of the seamounts identified in Seasat profiles were previously uncharted. Modeling suggests that there is no direct relationship between the size of a seamount and its signature in the geoid; therefore the set of locations is not a straightforward sampling of the total seamount population, but is weighted toward seamounts which are poorly compensated. A preliminary analysis indicates considerable variations in population density and type across the oceans; most notable among them are the absence of seamounts in the Atlantic, variations in population density across large age-offset fracture zones in the Pacific, the prevalence of small signatures in the Indian Ocean, and the existence of linear trends in the large seamounts of the west Pacific.

Cheney, RE, Douglas BC, McAdoo DC, Sandwell DT.  1986.  Geodetic and oceanographic applications of satellite altimetry. Space geodesy and geodynamics. ( Anderson A, Cazenave A, Eds.)., London, United Kingdom (GBR): Academic Press, London AbstractWebsite
Cheney, RE, Douglas BC, Sandwell DT, Marsh JG, Martin TV.  1984.  Applications of Satellite Altimetry to Oceanography and Geophysics. Marine Geophysical Researches. 7:17-32.   10.1007/bf00305408   AbstractWebsite

Satellite-borne altimeters have had a profound impact on geodesy, geophysics, and physical oceanography. To first order approximation, profiles of sea surface height are equivalent to the geoid and are highly correlated with seafloor topography for wavelengths less than 1000 km. Using all available Geos-3 and Seasat altimeter data, mean sea surfaces and geoid gradient maps have been computed for the Bering Sea and the South Pacific. When enhanced using hill-shading techniques, these images reveal in graphic detail the surface expression of seamounts, ridges, trenches, and fracture zones. Such maps are invaluable in oceanic regions where bathymetric data are sparse. Superimposed on the static geoid topography is dynamic topography due to ocean circulation. Temporal variability of dynamic height due to oceanic eddies can be determined from time series of repeated altimeter profiles. Maps of sea height variability and eddy kinetic energy derived from Geos-3 and Seasat altimetry in some cases represent improvements over those derived from standard oceanographic observations. Measurement of absolute dynamic height imposes stringent requirements on geoid and orbit accuracies, although existing models and data have been used to derive surprisingly realistic global circulation solutions. Further improvement will only be made when advances are made in geoid modeling and precision orbit determination. In contrast, it appears that use of altimeter data to correct satellite orbits will enable observation of basin-scale sea level variations of the type associated with climatic phenomena.

Keating, B, Cherkis NZ, Fell PW, Handschmacher D, Hey RN, Lazarewicz A, Naar DF, Perry RK, Sandwell D, Schwank DC, Vogt P, Zondek B.  1984.  Field-Tests of Seasat Bathymetric Detections. Marine Geophysical Researches. 7:69-71.   10.1007/bf00305411   AbstractWebsite

Knowledge of the locations and sizes of seamounts is of great importance in applications such as inertial navigation and ocean mining. The quality and density of bathymetry data in the equatorial regions and the southern hemisphere are, unifortunately, highly variable. Our present knowledge of bathymetry, and in particular of seamount locations and characteristics, is based upon ship surveys, which are both time-consuming and expensive. It is likely that a significant number of uncharted seamounts exist throughout the oceans, and remote-sensing techniques may be the most effective means of locating them.

Liu, CS, Sandwell DT, Curray JR.  1982.  The Negative Gravity-Field Over the 85-Degrees-E Ridge. Journal of Geophysical Research. 87:7673-7686.   10.1029/JB087iB09p07673   AbstractWebsite

An isopach map made from seismic reflection and refraction data in the Bay of Bengal shows two prominent N-S trending features in the basement topography. One is the northernmost portion of the Ninetyeast Ridge which is totally buried by sediments north of 10°N. The other buried ridge trends roughly N-S for 1400 km at 85°E to the latitude of Sri Lanka and then curves toward the west. It has basement relief up to 6 km. Two free-air gravity anomaly profiles across the region show a strong gravity low (∼−60 mGal) over the 85°E Ridge, while the Ninetyeast Ridge shows a gravity high. To understand the negative free-air gravity anomaly over the 85°E Ridge, we model the lithosphere as a thin elastic plate and calculate its flexural and gravitational response to an uneven sediment load. A plausible formation history for a buried ridge consists of at least two major episodes. The first is the formation of the ridge on a lithosphere with a flexural rigidity of D1. At some later time the ridge is buried by an influx of sediments, the lithosphere is cooler, and the flexural rigidity has increased to D2. The character of the gravity field depends primarily upon the initial and final values of flexural rigidity. These D1 and D2 values are varied to obtain good agreement between the model and observed gravity anomalies. Best fitting models have a 180 times increase in flexural rigidity between ridge formation and sediment burial. An approximate relationship between flexural rigidity and crustal age shows that the 85°E Ridge was formed on relatively young lithosphere, 5–15 m.y. old and that it was buried when the lithosphere was 40–80 m.y. old.