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Satellite Images Reveal Ground Movement from Morocco Earthquake: Thousands Killed

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Satellites Reveal Extent of Ground Movement from Morocco Earthquake

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Satellites have recently captured the magnitude of ground movement caused by a powerful earthquake in Morocco, resulting in thousands of casualties.

The earthquake occurred in a rural area within the Atlas Mountains, approximately 75 km (47 miles) away from Marrakesh, on the evening of Friday, September 8. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), this region lies on the boundary between the European and African tectonic plates, making it prone to seismic activity.

After the devastating #Moroccoearthquake, @copernicusEU#Sentinel1 radar data from August 30, 2023 and September 11 were combined to create this interferogram, which is used to analyze how the ground shifted as a result of the earthquake: pic.twitter.com/Oa2qJvhLwf

These ground deformation maps use #Sentinel1 Data for assessing post-earthquake displacement in Morocco: pic.twitter.com/OQCXxvQvIE

Radar measurements obtained from two European satellites in the Sentinel-1 constellation, both before and after the calamity, demonstrate the extent of plate movement during the earthquake.

According to the BBC, certain areas experienced a surface rise of up to 15 cm, while in other regions the ground subsided by as much as 10 cm.

The European Space Agency stated that satellite images are aiding scientists and rescue teams in assessing the situation and predicting potential aftershocks.

“Satellites in Earth orbit possess a unique capability to not only provide a comprehensive overview of affected areas, but also supply highly detailed information,” said Simonetta Celli, director of ESA’s Earth observation programs. “They can see right through it.” These satellites are also commonly used to map flood hazards based on cloud formations. In the case of the Morocco earthquake, their value lies in measuring surface changes, which will be crucial during the recovery process once the crisis subsides.

The two images, taken on August 30 (over a week before the earthquake) and September 11 (three days after the disaster), were used to generate an interferogram, a visual representation that records surface displacement.

Source: Space

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