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Surface rupture and distributed deformation revealed by optical satellite imagery: The intraplate 2016 Mw 6.0 Petermann Ranges earthquake, Australia

August 29, 2019

High-resolution optical satellite imagery is used to quantify vertical surface deformation associated with the intraplate 20 May 2016 Mw 6.0 Petermann Ranges earthquake, Northern Territory, Australia. The 21 ╓ 1 km long NW-trending rupture resulted from reverse motion on a northeast-dipping fault. Vertical surface offsets of up to 0.7 ╓ 0.1 m distributed across a 0.5-to-1 km wide deformation zone are measured using the Iterative Closest Point (ICP) algorithm to compare pre- and post-earthquake digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from Worldview imagery. The results are validated by comparison with field-based observations and interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). The pattern of surface uplift is consistent with distributed shear above the propagating tip of a reverse fault, leading to both an emergent fault and folding proximal to the rupture. This study demonstrates the potential for quantifying modest (<1 m) vertical deformation on a reverse fault using optical satellite imagery.