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When an earthquake occurs, seismic data provides an initial estimate of magnitude and location. However, for large earthquakes, we can improve our situational awareness once we know the full extent of the rupture - large earthquakes result from 100’s of kilometers of fault breaking, not just a point on the map corresponding to the epicenter. Rapid GPS, InSAR, and pixel tracking measurements from impacted regions combined with modeling can tell us where and how much a fault ruptured, constraining these values more reliably than is possible using seismic data alone.

The ARIA Center is currently developing a prototype end-to-end geodetic imaging data system enabling near-real-time science, assessment, response, and rapid recovery. This prototype is expected to be the foundation for an operational data processing center integrating InSAR, GPS, pixel tracking, seismology, and modeling to deliver actionable science products. Future radar imaging satellites such as NASA’s future L-band SAR Mission will have greatly increased societal relevance, and therefore public support, when they can show direct benefit to understanding and mitigation of natural hazards. 

The initial phase of the ARIA Center targets earthquake response and is called ARIA-EQ. After this foundational investment in infrastructure, ARIA-EQ could be shortly followed by other hazard response applications, for example ARIA-MAGMA targeting volcano hazards.