ALOS/PALSAR full polarimetric observations of the Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku earthquake of 2008

Manabu Watanabe, Chinatsu Yonezawa, Joji Iisaka, Motoyuki Sato

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17 Citations (Scopus)


We analysed Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) data on the areas damaged by the Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku earthquake that struck Japan in 2008. The observations before and after the earthquake have been carried out in the full polarimetric mode. We observed the dominance of surface scattering of the three-component scattering model in the landslide areas and identified 11 of the 13 landslide areas. However, we also detected vacant pieces of land, pastures and other land bodies. The possible landslide areas are estimated for 102 patch areas, of which 36 correspond to the actual landslide areas. This method is useful to detect the landslide area when the land classification map or optical image taken before a disaster is available. We propose the use of σ0 VH information to distinguish the landslide areas from the other areas. Since σ0 VH is sensitive to the surface roughness of an area, vacant pieces of land and pastures, which have a relatively low surface roughness, can be distinguished from the landslide areas, which have a high surface roughness. By combining the surface scattering and the σ0 VH filter, the number of possible landslide areas is reduced from 102 to 54, which include the actual landslide areas except for some small patch areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1234-1245
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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