On Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck along the Iran-Iraq border near Halabjah, Iraq. The earthquake was felt as far away as Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel. Extensive damage and numerous casualties were reported in the area near the epicenter (yellow star on image). The earthquake occurred along the boundary between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates. This is an earthquake-prone area, and has experienced many deadly earthquakes in the past. In this perspective-view image, bright red areas are crops in fields, pale red on mountain ridges are shrubs and trees, dark gray areas are traces of earlier brush fires, and gray and tan colors are different rock types. The image was acquired Sept. 8, 2017, and the star marks the earthquake epicenter at 34.9 degrees north, 45.9 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/.