Observation of a Large Landslide on La Reunion Island Using Differential Sar Interferometry (JERS and Radarsat) and Correlation of Optical (Spot5 and Aerial) Images

Sensors (Basel). 2009;9(1):616-30. doi: 10.3390/s90100616. Epub 2009 Jan 21.


Slope instabilities are one of the most important geo-hazards in terms of socio-economic costs. The island of La Réunion (Indian Ocean) is affected by constant slope movements and huge landslides due to a combination of rough topography, wet tropical climate and its specific geological context. We show that remote sensing techniques (Differential SAR Interferometry and correlation of optical images) provide complementary means to characterize landslides on a regional scale. The vegetation cover generally hampers the analysis of C-band interferograms. We used JERS-1 images to show that the L-band can be used to overcome the loss of coherence observed in Radarsat C-band interferograms. Image correlation was applied to optical airborne and SPOT 5 sensors images. The two techniques were applied to a landslide near the town of Hellbourg in order to assess their performance for detecting and quantifying the ground motion associated to this landslide. They allowed the mapping of the unstable areas. Ground displacement of about 0.5 m yr(-1) was measured.

Keywords: DInSAR; Landslide; Optical Correlation.