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Perspective View of the Rann of Kachchh, India
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
The earthquake that struck western India on January 26, 2001, was the
country's strongest in the past 50 years. This perspective view shows
the area of the earthquake's epicenter in the lower left corner. The
southern Rann of Kachchh appears in the foreground. The Rann is an area
of low-lying salt flats that shows up with various shades of white and
blue in this false-color Landsat image. The gray area on the middle of
the image is called the Banni plains.
The darker blue spots and curving lines in the Rann and the Banni
plains are features that appeared after the January earthquake. Their
true colors are shades of white and gray, but the infrared data used in
the image gives them a blue or turquoise color. These features are the
effects of liquefaction of wet soil, sand and mud layers caused by the
shaking of the earthquake. The liquefaction beneath the surface causes
water to be squeezed out at the surface forming mud volcanoes, sand
blows and temporary springs. Some of the residents of this dry area were
hopeful that they could use the water, but they found that the water was
too salty in almost every place where it came to the surface.
The city of Bhuj, India, appears as a gray area in the upper right of
the image. Bhuj and many other towns and cities nearby were almost
completely destroyed by the January 2001 earthquake. This magnitude 7.7
earthquake was the deadliest in the history of India with some 20,000
fatalities and over a million homes damaged or destroyed. The city of
Bhuj was the historical capital of the Kachchh region. Highways and
rivers appear as dark lines. Vegetation appears bright green in this
false-color Landsat image.
The city of Anjar is in the dark gray area near the upper left of the
image. Previously damaged by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in 1956 that
killed 152 people, Anjar suffered again in the larger 2001 earthquake.
The red hills in the center of the image are the Has and Karo Hills,
which reach up to 300 m (900 feet) elevation. Geologists are studying
the folded red sandstone layers that form these hills to determine if
they are related to the fault that broke in the 2001 earthquake.
This three-dimensional perspective view was generated using
topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and an
enhanced false-color Landsat 7 satellite image. Colors are from Landsat
bands 5, 4, and 2 as red, green and blue, respectively. Topographic
expression is exaggerated 5X.
Size: scale varies in this perspective image
Location: 23.5 deg. North lat., 69.9 deg. East lon.
Orientation: looking Southwest
Image Data: Landsat Bands 5, 4, 3 as red, green, blue respectively
Original Data Resolution: SRTM 30 meters (99 feet), Landsat 30 meters
Date Acquired: four days in February, 2000 (SRTM), February 9, 2001 (Landsat)