Three-dimensional displacement fields from insar through tikhonov regularization and least-squares variance component estimation

Hamid Mehrabi, Behzad Voosoghi, Mahdi Motagh, Ramon F. Hanssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) measures the projection of three-dimensional (3D) ground displacement in the range direction and in the azimuth direction through image processing. The incapability of InSAR in measuring the 3D displacements restricts its capability for assessing real Earth surface deformation. The near-polar orbiting characteristics of InSAR missions reduce the sensitivity of line-of-sight (LOS) displacements significantly to the north-south components of the real 3D displacement fields and weaken the geometric strength of a given configuration. Applying range measurements from various missions to address 3D displacement leads to an ill-posed inverse problem that needs to be regularized. Moreover, it needs appropriate weighting of the observations to give proper estimates of the parameters. In this study, we propose Tikhonov regularization (TR) and least-squares variance component estimation (LS-VCE) methods for retrieving 3D displacement vectors from range and azimuth displacements. Depending on the functional degree of freedom (DoF) of the inverse problem, the TR and LS-VCE methods are applied in determined and overdetermined equation systems, respectively, to stabilize the ill-conditioned models and estimate the variance components of observations. These methods were evaluated by two synthetic data sets and a real data set from the Sentinel-1 terrain observation by progressive scan (TOPS) and ALOS-2 phased array type L-band synthetic aperture radar (PALSAR-2) missions in 2015 of the MW = 8.3 Illapel earthquake in Chile. Results indicate more than 40% improvement in both the precision and accuracy of retrieving 3D deformation fields when the regularized LS-VCE (RLS-VCE) is adopted instead of the conventional method (CM) that considers primary weighting for observations. Applying the range and azimuth InSAR displacements together with adopting the LS-VCE method reveal a north-south convergent borderline near 31.2° S in the 2015 Illapel earthquake.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04019011
JournalJournal of Surveying Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Differential synthetic aperture radar interferometry (D-InSAR)
  • Least-squares variance component estimation
  • Three-dimensional (3D) displacement fields
  • Tikhonov regularization method

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional displacement fields from insar through tikhonov regularization and least-squares variance component estimation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this