Surface displacement estimation along Himalayan frontal fault using differential SAR interferometry

Atanu Bhattacharya*, Mukat L. Sharma, Manoj K. Arora

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The Himalayan region has been studied extensively during the past few decades in terms of present ongoing deformations. Various models have been proposed for the evolution of the Himalaya to explain the cause of earthquake occurrences and to understand the seismotectonics of the Himalayan collision zone. However, the information on displacements from field geodetic surveys is still too scarce in time and spatial domains so as to provide convincing evidences. Moreover, classical Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Approaches also fail due to paucity of data in higher magnitude range, thus emphasizing the need of spatial level displacement measurements. It is in this context that the present study has been carried out to estimate the surface displacement in a seismically active region of the Himalaya between Ganga and Yamuna Tear using Differential SAR interferometry. Three single-look complex images, obtained from ASAR sensor onboard ENVISAT satellite, have been used. A displacement rate of 8-10 mm per year in N15°E direction of Indian plate has been obtained in this three-pass SAR interferometry study. It has been noted that the estimated convergence rate using Differential SAR interferometry technique is relatively low in comparison with those obtained from previous classical studies. The reported low convergence rate may be due to occurrence of silent/quite earthquakes, aseismic slip, differential movement of Delhi Hardwar ridge, etc. Therefore, in view of the contemporary seismicity and conspicuous displacements, a study of long-term observations of this surface movement has been recommended in future through a time-series SAR interferometry analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1123
Number of pages19
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Aseismic slip
  • Differential SAR interferometry (DInSAR)
  • Himalayan frontal fault (HFF)
  • Minimum cost flow (MCF)


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