InSAR-derived digital elevation models for terrain change analysis of earthquake-triggered flow-like landslides based on ALOS/PALSAR imagery

Yu Huang, Miao Yu, Qiang Xu, Kazuhide Sawada, Shuji Moriguchi, Atsushi Yashima, Chengwei Liu, Long Xue

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Earthquakes can directly trigger multiple simultaneous slope failures in mountainous regions. Among these slope failures, flow-like landslides with high velocities and long run-outs can result in damage that is more destructive than other types of landslides. Timely and accurate recognition of the locations and magnitudes of flow-like landslides is essential for post-disaster relief. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors are suitable for deformation monitoring because of their capability to operate at day or night and in all weather conditions. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) is an advanced technique that extracts three-dimensional terrain and changes information from the radar images at a regional scale. The focus of this study is the Donghekou landslide-debris flow that was triggered by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. ALOS/PALSAR remote satellite images were interpreted by InSAR to generate digital surface elevation models. A comparison of data from a typical InSAR configuration with field survey data proves that the former is an effective method for rapidly detecting flow-like landslides in a mountainous area. The comparison also shows that the accuracy of the results is closely related to the correlation between the satellite radar images used, and further that the study accuracy would improve with the inclusion of better correlation. In this way, representations of pre- and post-landslide terrains could be generated for use in numerical simulations. The InSAR method has particular significance for areas without terrain data prior to slope failure, and can provide basic data for landslide hazard assessments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number72
    Pages (from-to)7661-7668
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 22


    • DEM
    • Earthquake
    • Flow-like landslide
    • Hazard assessment
    • InSAR

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Global and Planetary Change
    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Water Science and Technology
    • Soil Science
    • Pollution
    • Geology
    • Earth-Surface Processes


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