Satellite Monitoring of Coral Reefs

On 26 December 2004, one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history struck offshore of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. The ocean floor heaved in some places and sank in others, creating catastrophic tsunamis that raced across the Indian Ocean. Hundreds of thousands of people died as the

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Figure 7 This image of black water off the coast of Florida was acquired on 20 March 2002 by the sea-viewing wide field-of-view sensor (SeaWiFS). Scientists and local fishermen are not sure on why the coloring of the water is typically turquoise black. Amid growing concern, scientists are now trying to determine the source of the black water (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/ natural_hazards_v2.php3?img_id=2620). Courtesy of the SeaWifs Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE.

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Figure 7 This image of black water off the coast of Florida was acquired on 20 March 2002 by the sea-viewing wide field-of-view sensor (SeaWiFS). Scientists and local fishermen are not sure on why the coloring of the water is typically turquoise black. Amid growing concern, scientists are now trying to determine the source of the black water (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/ natural_hazards_v2.php3?img_id=2620). Courtesy of the SeaWifs Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE.

waves struck coastlines from Thailand to Sri Lanka to Somalia. In addition to tsunami damage, satellite images ofreefs, islands, and coastlines identified signs of permanent elevation change - sinking or uplift - along the fault between the Indo-Australia and Burma Plates. Figure 9 shows the before and after images taken by Terra-ASTER. In the weeks and months after the earthquake, satellite images provided broad coverage of an area where ground-based observations were initially very limited. Changes in elevation were detected by a team of scientists along nearly 1600 km (994 mi) of the tectonic plate boundary. The images revealed that the earthquake rupture extended 100 km (62 mi) farther north than estimates based on seismic and GPS data suggested.

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