AbstractsEarth & Environmental Science


This thesis presents new approaches of SAR methods and their application to tectonically active systems and related surface deformation. With 3 publications two case studies are presented: (1) The coseismic deformation related to the Nura earthquake (5th October 2008, magnitude Mw 6.6) at the eastern termination of the intramontane Alai valley. Located between the southern Tien Shan and the northern Pamir the coseismic surface displacements are analysed using SAR (Synthetic Aperture RADAR) data. The results show clear gradients in the vertical and horizontal directions along a complex pattern of surface ruptures and active faults. To integrate and to interpret these observations in the context of the regional active tectonics a SAR data analysis is complemented with seismological data and geological field observations. The main moment release of the Nura earthquake appears to be on the Pamir Frontal thrust, while the main surface displacements and surface rupture occurred in the footwall and along of the NE–SW striking Irkeshtam fault. With InSAR data from ascending and descending satellite tracks along with pixel offset measurements the Nura earthquake source is modelled as a segmented rupture. One fault segment corresponds to high-angle brittle faulting at the Pamir Frontal thrust and two more fault segments show moderate-angle and low-friction thrusting at the Irkeshtam fault. The integrated analysis of the coseismic deformation argues for a rupture segmentation and strain partitioning associated to the earthquake. It possibly activated an orogenic wedge in the easternmost segment of the Pamir-Alai collision zone. Further, the style of the segmentation may be associated with the presence of Paleogene evaporites. (2) The second focus is put on slope instabilities and consequent landslides in the area of prominent topographic transition between the Fergana basin and high-relief Alai range. The Alai range constitutes an active orogenic wedge of the Pamir – Tien Shan collision zone that described as a progressively northward propagating fold-and-thrust belt. The interferometric analysis of ALOS/PALSAR radar data integrates a period of 4 years (2007-2010) based on the Small Baseline Subset (SBAS) time-series technique to assess surface deformation with millimeter surface change accuracy. 118 interferograms are analyzed to observe spatially-continuous movements with downslope velocities up to 71 mm/yr. The obtained rates indicate slow movement of the deep-seated landslides during the observation time. We correlated these movements with precipitation and seismic records. The results suggest that the deformation peaks correlate with rainfall in the 3 preceding months and with one earthquake event. In the next step, to understand the spatial pattern of landslide processes, the tectonic morphologic and lithologic settings are combined with the patterns of surface deformation. We demonstrate that the lithological and tectonic structural patterns are the main controlling factors for landslide occurrence and surface… Advisors/Committee Members: Echtler, Helmut (advisor).