Last Updated : November 19, 2016

The 2016 New Zealand Earthquake: Crustal deformation detected by ALOS-2 data

Crustal Deformation Observed by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

Released: Nov. 17, 2016, Last Updated: Nov. 19, 2016 Japanese version of this page

Crustal Deformation revealed by SAR analysis

A large earthquake (Mw 7.8) occurred in New Zealand on November 13, 2016. We applied interferometric analysis and a Pixel Offset method using ALOS-2/PALSAR-2 data to measure the crustal deformation caused by the earthquake, and retrieved a dense three-dimensional deformation field. The results revealed that very complex movements on several faults occurred and the maximum uplift reached ~10 m.

The results obtained from the data are summarized as follows.
  • The length of the area with more than 10 cm displacement reaches over 150 km in north-south direction (Fig. 1).
  • Fig. 1 shows displacement toward the satellite at the northwest side of the Kekerengu fault and the Hope fault, whereas displacement away from the satellite at the southeast side. Range of the displacement at the northwest side of the Kekerengu fault is wider than one along the Hope fault, implying that larger slip occurred at the Kekerengu fault than that at the Hope fault.
  • Uplift over 1 m widely occurred at the coast north from Kaikoura (Figs. 7 and 10).
  • Clear discontinuities of the displacement are found along the Kekerengu fault, Jordan thrust and a part of the Hope fault, which are known active faults. Along the Kekerengu fault, uplift at the north side and right-lateral strike-slip occurred, and its amount reached ~10 m (Figs. 7 - 10). Along the Jordan thrust, uplift at the south side and right-lateral strike-slip occurred.
  • Another clear discontinuity is also found from the south edge of the Kekerengu fault (north edge of the Jordan thrust) with the perpendicular strike of SE, implying that surface ruptures probably appeared along the discontinuity (Figs. 7 - 10). At the west side, ~10 m uplift at a maximum and over 6 m southward displacement was detected.
  • The retrieved deformation field indicates that very complex movements on several faults occurred by this earthquake.

* Note that the result is possibly updated with further elaborated analyses.

Results (InSAR and Pixel Offset)

Image: Fig1 interferogram

Fig. 1. InSAR of pair 1
[PNG: 1.53MB]

Image: Fig2 Range offset

Fig. 2. Range offset of pair 1
[PNG: 1.31MB]

Image: Fig3 Azimuth offset

Fig. 3. Azimuth offset of pair 1
[PNG: 1.32MB]


Image: Fig4 interferogram

Fig. 4. InSAR of pair 2
[PNG: 1.12MB]

Image: Fig5 Range offset

Fig. 5. Range offset of pair 2
[PNG: 0.99MB]

Image: Fig6 Azimuth offset

Fig. 6. Azimuth offset of pair 2
[PNG: 1.02MB]


Date Time
Bperp KMZ
1 2016-10-18
23:27 Des. Right W-W 41°-49° -63m
Fig1: 7.58MB
Fig2: 930KB
Fig3: 812KB
2 2016-10-06
13:13 Asc. Right F-F 33°-39° -10m
Fig4: 4.08MB
Fig5: 81.4KB
Fig6: 100KB

*1 W: ScanSAR (Normal), F: Fine (10m)
(cf. ALOS-2 Project / PALSAR-2 (JAXA))

Analysis by GSI from ALOS-2 raw data of JAXA.
These results were obtained through the activity of the SAR analysis working group of the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.

Image: area Area of interest

3D Displacement by Pixel Offset Results

Image: Fig7 3D displacemnt[PNG: 784KB]
Fig. 7. Three dimensional displacement field estimated from the results of Pixel Offset.

Image: Fig8 EW

Fig. 8. EW displacement
[PNG: 777KB] [KMZ: 72.2KB] [GeoTIFF: 1.77MB]

Image: Fig9 NS

Fig. 9. NS displacement
 [PNG: 819KB] [KMZ: 65.7KB] [GeoTIFF: 1.77MB]

Image: Fig10 UD

Fig. 10. UD displacement
[PNG: 735KB] [KMZ: 60.6KB] [GeoTIFF: 1.77MB]

Image: 3D by Pixel Offset
Geometry of 3D analysis by Pixel Offset

The 2016 New Zealand Earthquake

Date-Time November 13, 2016, 11:02 (UTC)
42.757°S, 173.077°E, Depth: 23.0 km
(USGS, as of November 19, 2016)
Magnitude Mw=7.8
(USGS, as of November 19, 2016)


ALOS-2 (Advanced Land Observing Satellite 2) launched by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on May 24, 2014

Paper, Report, Presentation

Morishita, Y., T. Kobayashi, S. Fujiwara, and H. Yarai (2017), Complex crustal deformation of the 2016 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake revealed by ALOS‐2, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 107(6), 2676-2686, doi:10.1785/0120170143. [html]

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YARAI Hiroshi : Head of Division
MORISHITA Yu : Researcher