On Oct. 26, 2015, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck in the Hindu Kush region of northeastern Afghanistan. The earthquake's epicenter was at a depth of 130 miles (210 kilometers), on a probable shallowly dipping thrust fault. At this location, the Indian subcontinent moves northward and collides with Eurasia, subducting under the Asian continent, and raising the highest mountains in the world. This type of earthquake is common in the area: a similar earthquake occurred 13 years ago about 12 miles (20 kilometers) away. This perspective image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft, looking southwest, shows the hypocenter with a star. The image was acquired July 8, 2015, and is located near 36.4 degrees north, 70.7 degrees east.
With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and data products.
The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.
The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.
More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.