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Open AccessArticle

DInSAR for a Regional Inventory of Active Rock Glaciers in the Dry Andes Mountains of Argentina and Chile with Sentinel-1 Data

1
Faculty of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences (FCEFyN), Department of Geology, Av. Jose Ignacio de la Roza Oeste 590, National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET)—National University of San Juan (UNSJ), San Juan 5400, Argentina
2
School of Surveying, National University of Rosario, Pellegrini 250, Rosario 2000, Argentina
3
National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET)— National University of San Juan (UNSJ), Center of the Geosphere and Biosphere Research (CIGEOBIO), Av. Jose Ignacio de la Roza Oeste 590, San Juan 5400, Argentina
4
Technological Center of Telecommunications of Catalonia (CTTC), Geomatic Area, Av. Gauss 7, E-08860 Castelldefels, Barcelona, Spain
5
Faculty of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences (FCEFyN), Department of Geology, National University of San Juan (UNSJ), Av. Jose Ignacio de la Roza Oeste 590, San Juan 5400, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101588
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 30 September 2018 / Accepted: 2 October 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryospheric Remote Sensing II)
The Dry Andes region of Argentina and Chile is characterized by a highly developed periglacial environment. In these arid or semi-arid regions, rock glaciers represent one of the main pieces of evidence of mountain creeping permafrost and water reserves in a solid state. However, their distribution, degree of activity, and response to global warming are not yet well understood. In this context, this work aims to show the potential of the Sentinel-1-based interferometric technique (DInSAR) to map active rock glaciers at a regional level. In particular, the paper presents an active rock glacier inventory for the study area, which covers approximately 40,000 km2, ranging from latitude 30°21′S to 33°21′S. A total of 2116 active rock glaciers have been detected, and their elevations show a high correlation with the west-east direction. This result was obtained by using only 16 interferometric pairs. Compared to other remote sensing classification techniques, the interferometric technique offers a means to measure surface displacement (active rock glacier). This results in a reliable classification of the degree of activity compared to other methods, based on geomorphological, geomorphometric, and/or ecological criteria. This work presents evidence of this aspect by comparing the obtained results with existing optical data-based inventories. We conclude that the combination of both types of sensors (radar and optical) is an appropriate procedure for active rock glacier inventories, as both mapping methodologies are complementary. View Full-Text
Keywords: DInSAR; Sentinel 1; rock glacier inventories; mountain permafrost; Dry Andes DInSAR; Sentinel 1; rock glacier inventories; mountain permafrost; Dry Andes
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Villarroel, C.D.; Tamburini Beliveau, G.; Forte, A.P.; Monserrat, O.; Morvillo, M. DInSAR for a Regional Inventory of Active Rock Glaciers in the Dry Andes Mountains of Argentina and Chile with Sentinel-1 Data. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1588.

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