The Copernicus Sentinel-1 twin radar satellites combined with cloud computing are monitoring Europe’s earthquake zones by searching for ground shifts as small as a millimetre.
Radar was developed in the last century to pick up aircraft moving at hundreds of kilometres per hour. Today’s satellite radar can reveal otherwise invisible shifts in the ground taking place as slowly as the growth of your fingernails.
The new, automatic radar service covers Europe’s seismic regions, monitoring an area of three million square kilometres in 200 m blocks.
Once any motion of interest has been identified, more detailed checks can be made through ESA’s Geohazards Exploitation Platform.
“The quick-browse service has been under way across European tectonic regions since January, harnessing automated processing developed by the DLR German Aerospace Center,” explains Fabrizio Pacini of Terradue, overseeing the Platform.
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The GEP is one of six ‘Thematic Exploitation Platforms’ (TEPs)' being developed by ESA in the frame of the Earth Observation ground segment evolution strategy. The TEPs aim at fostering the exploitation of EO data by providing an online environment for users to access information, ICT resources, and tools.
The TEPs are contributing to the creation of an European EO data ecosystem for research and business, one of the overarching objectives of ESA Earth Observation Envelope Programme.