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Earthquakes

California's San Andreas fault, imaged during the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.
California's San Andreas Fault
Since Earth is our home, we usually view it as a friendly place. However, Earth can also be violent. Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and volcanoes can cause tremendous damage and can occur with very little warning.

Some earthquakes can occur miles below the surface, leaving almost no trace on the landscape, while others change the course of rivers and create mountains where once the land was flat. Hidden and known earthquake faults are present throughout Earth's crust. While it is not currently possible to predict when an earthquake may occur, knowledge of where the faults lie is extremely useful. JPL's Earth missions contribute to our expanding understanding of these tremblers.

As NASA's lead research center for solid Earth and natural hazards, JPL is developing new and better ways to monitor and investigate natural hazards. Knowing how and why nature turns violent will help scientists improve their ability to predict future hazards. Our science results also provide vital information for government agencies, such as the National Weather Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency, which are responsible for warning the public about hurricanes, floods and severe weather.

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Missions & Projects:

Southern California Integrated Global Positioning Satellite Network (SCIGN) Southern California Integrated Global Positioning Satellite Network (SCIGN)
   JPL is a partner in this Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) network. Using signals emitted from this group of satellites, ground receivers can measure and record very small surface motions, which typically result from movements along earthquake faults or liquid underground.
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission  (SRTM) Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)
   The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission gathered topographic elevation data over approximately 80 percent of Earth's landmass during its 11-day flight. The results will be the most extensive high-resolution database of Earth's topography. After processing, data from this mission will be available for active fault zones around the world.
NASA/JPL Science and Technology Applied to Natural Hazards NASA/JPL Science and Technology Applied to Natural Hazards
   This is a clearinghouse of information intended for researchers and scientists. It includes data on radar interferometry and Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites.
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