Last Updated : April 12, 2010

The 2010 Baja California, Mexico Earthquake: Crustal deformation detected by ALOS/PALSAR data

Crustal Deformation Observed by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

Released: Apr. 9, 2010, Japanese version of this page

Crustal Deformation by InSAR

A M=7.2 earthquake occurred in Baja California, Mexico on April 4, 2010. An interferometric analysis of the data acquired by the Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) onboard the Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS) allows us to clarify spatial distribution of surface deformation associated with the earthquake.
  • Clear deformation locates along the Laguna Salada fault system including the Borrego and the Pescadores Faults.
  • An intensive deformation zone extends 60 km-long from the epicenter of the earthquake to the border between U.S. and Mexico.
  • Displacement of > 80 cm away from the satellite is identified near the U.S.-Mexico Border.
  • An phase discontinuity which is 20~30 km-long at the northwestern end of the deformation zone implies a surface rupture associated with the earthquake.
  • The interferograms may be affected by non-tectonic long-wavelength fringes.


ScanSAR - ScanSAR interferometry
ScanSAR-ScanSAR interferogram[PNG: 771KB]
FB - FB interferometry
FB-FB interferogram[PNG: 697KB]

FBS is short for Fine Beam Single.
Brown lines in the figure represent traces of active faults (Bird, 2009).

Bird, P. (2009), Long-term fault slip rates, distributed deformation rates, and forecast of seismicity in the western United States from joint fitting of community geologic, geodetic, and stress direction data sets, J. Geophys. Res., 114, B11403, doi:10.1029/2009JB006317.

Baja Earthquake in 2010

Date-Time April 4, 2010 15:40 (Local Time), April 5, 2010 07:40 (JST)
April 4, 2010 22:40 (UTC)
Hypocenter Location 32.259°N, 115.287°W Depth:10 km (USGS, as of April 9, 2010)
Magnitude 7.2 (USGS, as of April 9, 2010 )
Death Toll  2 (as of April 9, 2010)

Satellite and Sensor

PALSAR sensor onboard "Daichi" (ALOS) satellite launched by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on January 24, 2006


TOBITA Mikio : Director of Crustal Deformation Research Division
NISHIMURA Takuya : Chief Researcher
KOBAYASHI Tomokazu : Researcher