Updated 1 Mar 2011, 8am - with more information French agencies.
Experts in France and Japan have have performed analysis and modelling of satellite images to analyse the location of the fault line for the February 22 Earthquake in Christchurch.

Using a technique called Interferometry on PALSAR images of the Canterbury area, scientists have produced a preliminary model of the fault line and depth, to check consistency with seismic data.

Learn more about how Radar Interferometry works for analysing earthquakes.

Japan's GSI also has a good lay-explaination on How to understand a SAR interferogram.

Please note there will be difference between the generated models due to a number of factors, such as difference in satellite positions, time between passes, analysis techniques, etc. These are preliminary models only. Please contact the sources if you require detailed information.


The Disaster Management Support Systems Office at JAXA kindly provided us with links to further analysis of the 22 February 2011 (and Sept 4 2010) earthquakes

Crustal deformation detected by InSAR

The Geospatial Information Authority of JAPAN, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has released SAR interferograms analysis of the earthquake using "Daichi" Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) satellite PALSAR data.

Click image for a larger view, or view the full article on GSI's website.

Analysis by GSI from ALOS raw data of JAXA, METI.

It is interesting to note the 'Low Coherence' zone in the Eastern suburbs, which GSI have indicated may be areas of liquefaction.

More technical information, including the interferogram for the 4 September 2010 earthquake can be found on GSI's website.


The work by the French "Cellule d'Intervention et d'Expertise Scientifique et Technique" (CIEST) has now been published on the EMSC website.

Google Earth View

Updated 1 Mar 2011, 7:30am.

Click image for a larger view or View in Google Earth.
(Note this is linked from the EMSC website, and may be updated independently of the image below).

In the image above, we have overlayed the latest interferogram provided with the modelled fault and fringes, available from the EMSC website.

You may also find it helpful to set the transparency on the overlay: Expand the triangle beside 'InSAR_NZ_CIEST-BRGM.kmz' and click on the polygon layer. Right-click and choose 'Get Info' and drag the transparency layer as desired.

Information source

The work has been performed by the French Cellule d'Intervention Scientifique et Technique (CIEST) through the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters; Data courtesy of JAXA and CNES, data (c) JAXA, METI.
For contacts: Marcello de Michele (m.demichele@brgm.fr) and Pierre Briole (pierre.briole@ens.fr)

"This work is preliminary. The results presented here are meant to evolve in the next hours and days as new data are acquired, and need validation from other techniques as well as advice from the New Zealand scientific geophysical community. For this aim, we (the Ciest group) are in contact with the GNS goup lead by Dr John Beavan. All official scientific communications about the earthquake will be issued by the Scientific Authorities of New Zealand." - Ciest Group.

KiwiSpace will publish updates here as they become available.

We'd like to thank Marcello de Michele for assistance with keeping this page updated. We will update this page with more information when it becomes available.

Press Coverage

The work by French scientists using satellite imagery, profiled on this page, has helped New Zealand geophysics specialists to build a better picture of the fault system in Christchurch:

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See our other Articles on the Christchurch Earthquake

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