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Earth Observation essential for geohazard mitigation
Date:11/12/2007

ved spectacular results in various fields such as the monitoring of volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and land subsidence.

"The integration of in-situ observations with satellite observations helps us to better understand and forecast specific geological phenomena like volcanoes and seismic sites," said Jacques Varet, Director of Strategic Planning for Geoscience for a sustainable Earth (BRGM) and Vice President of EuroGeoSurveys. "In-situ observations have a local approach while space-based observations have a global approach. With these communities working together, we integrate our approach and enlarge our horizon."

Volcanoes

Although there is no way ground-based monitoring can be carried out on all volcanoes across the globe, space-based monitoring helps identify the volcanoes presenting the greatest danger. Satellite radar, such as that aboard ESAs Envisat and ERS-2 satellites, allows scientists to track small changes in the Earths movement and improves their ability to predict volcanic eruptions.

To boost the use of EO data at volcanic observatories, ESA has started to monitor volcanoes worldwide within the framework of the Agency's Data User Element programme. The Globvolcano project, started in early 2007, will define, implement and validate information services to support volcanological observatories in their daily work by integration of EO data, with emphasis on observation and early warning.

Earthquakes

Shifts in the movement of the Earths crust are a hazard in many parts of the world. Using InSAR, scientists are able to detect minute deformations in the Earth's crust over time, which provides clues as to when an earthquake is imminent.

Interferometry provided a unique insight into the cause of the earthquake in Bam, Iran, in December 2003, which resulted in the deaths of 26 000 people. Studying radar images of the ground around Bam before and after the quake allowed scientis
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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