Last Updated : August 20, 2021

The 2021 Haiti Earthquake: Crustal deformation detected by ALOS-2 data

Crustal Deformation Observed by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

Released: Aug. 20, 2021 Japanese version of this page


An earthquake (M 7.2, USGS) occurred in the Republic of Haiti on August 14, 2021 (UTC). To measure the crustal deformation caused by this earthquake, we applied interferometric analysis using ALOS-2/PALSAR-2 data.The analysis clearly revealed the spatial distribution of crustal deformation.
  • A major deformation area is located approximately 100 km west of that of the earthquake on January 12, 2010 in the Republic of Haiti.
  • Crustal deformation is concentrated along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone which runs along the southern side of the Republic of Haiti.
  • A major deformation area can be divided into the eastern and western parts. On the eastern part, large deformation gradients are observed along the known fault, while on the western part, these are observed along a line slightly north of the known fault.
  • The amount of deformation in the north of the fault is larger than that in the south.
  • In the western part of the deformation area, there are decorrelated areas which may correspond to surface ruptures. (Fig. 1)
  • Figure 1 shows that crustal deformation in the direction of approaching satellites exceeding 80 cm were observed in the western part.

SAR Interferograms

Fig. 1 SAR interferogram.Fault lines are based on Styron et al. (2020).

Fig. 1 SAR interferogram.
Fault lines are based on Styron et al. (2020).[PNG: 372KB]

Fig. 2 SAR interferogram.Fault lines are based on Styron et al. (2020).

Fig. 2 SAR interferogram.
Fault lines are based on Styron et al. (2020).[PNG: 408KB]

Fig. 3 Map range

Date Time
Incidence Angle
(around epicenter)
1 2020/12/23
5:02 Asc. Right F-F
43° +8m
2 2019/12/10
16:42 Des. Right W-W
46° +165m

*1 F: Stripmap (Fine), W: ScanSAR (Wide)
(cf. ALOS-2 Project / PALSAR-2 (JAXA))

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

The 2021 Haiti Earthquake

Date-Time Aug. 14, 2021, 12:29(UTC)
18.408°N, 73.475°E, Depth:10.0 km
(USGS, as of Aug. 14, 2021)
Magnitude M=7.2
(USGS, as of Aug. 14, 2021)


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

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Geography and Crustal Dynamics Research Center
Crustal Deformation Research
MUNEKANE Hiroshi: Head of Division