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Puerto Rico Quake Damage Visible From Space

10 January 2020

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Days after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked Puerto Rico, followed by hundreds of aftershocks, the full extent of damage is only beginning to be realised.

NASA scientists are using satellite data to help federal and local agencies identify areas with potential damage. Earthquakes cause permanent changes to the ground surface. By comparing interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data acquired 9 on Jan., 2020, with data acquired on 28 Dec., 2019, from the Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite, the scientists were able to map where, how much and in what direction those changes occurred.

Source: NASA

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech, ESA, USGS - This map shows ground changes, or displacement, on the eastern two-thirds of Puerto Rico following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake. The ground shifted up to 5.5 inches (14 centimeters) in a downward and slightly west direction.

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