Dr. Estelle Chaussard

Scientist -  Geophysics & Remote Sensing 

About me
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My research focuses on the development and usage of space geodetic techniques to detect small movements of the Earth's surface associated with natural resources and geohazards problems.

I use a variety of tools, such as InSAR, GPS, LiDAR, optical imagery, seismic data, and numerical models to approach research questions at the frontiers of the fields of geodesy, hydrology, geomorphology, active tectonics, & volcanology.



Subsidence is a wide-spread consequence of groundwater extraction, but can it inform the state and sustainability of water resources?


Tropical peat is degrading but how fast, where, why, & with what flooding and climatic consequences?
+ landslides & mining research

Active Tectonics

Can we learn more about earthquakes physics and refine seismic hazards by looking at deformation between earthquakes?


What can & can't deformation at volcanoes tell us about processes  below the ground and how does deformation relate to unrest? 


Satellites help us better manage the water crisis 

Land subsidence due to groundwater pumping is widespread and can be detected from space. In some regions, such as Indonesia and Mexico, the ground is sinking over a foot each year, highlighting the increased flooding risk and the need for water sustainability plans.
In other regions, such as parts of California, management of water resources is showing promising results.
See our work in A JGRGRL, JGR, RSE, WRRJGR, RSE & RSE

Subsidence in Indonesia and Mexico is extremely widespread and rapid! over a foot per year!

Check out our works already cited over 300 time each in Mexico & Indonesia and take a look at how we are working towards integrating InSAR with GRACE

Deformation data reveals more than just the ground ups and downs: it helps us monitor aquifer health

Check out our works in the San Joaquin Valley, the Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara Valley, and in Mexico City

For peat's sake!

Peat degradation, resulting from land-use changes, leads to biodiversity loss, increased CO2 emissions, increased occurrence of fires, haze, land subsidence, and flooding. But little process-based work had been done on the geomorphology of degrading tropical peatlands due to the limited accessibility. Comes in Remote Sensing!
See our initial results in Nature Geoscience


ALL degraded peat is sinking! But not all at the same speed: geomorphology and land use history matter.

We quantified widespread peat carbon loss by using InSAR remote sensing across 2.7 Mha of Indonesian peat. Over 90% of the surveyed area is subsiding at a mean rate of 2.2 cm/yr. The region now faces high risks of flooding and loss of land.

Peat oxidation following deforestation is responsible for significant CO2 emissions 

Deformation can be used to provide refined estimates of CO2 emissions from peat oxidation. Peat oxidation is responsible for production of 155 ± 30 Megatons of CO2 per year, similar in magnitude to both regional fossil-fuel emissions and peat fires.


Black sand mining activities:
A citizen-science initiative helps validate satellite data

Magnetite occurs naturally in black sand beaches of the Philippines and is frequently mined illegally. Through a CEGA Award we helped create a network for local communities to report black sand mining. We used the identified sites to confirm that remote sensing data provide an objective, reliable, safe, and cost-effective way to monitor mining activities and their impacts
See our published work in Remote Sensing 

Mining sites are sinking & the affected areas are 10 to 100 times larger than the sites themselves

Black sand mining sites experience subsidence rates up to 6 cm/yr which augments the exposure of communities to sea level rise and to typhoon-related threats. 

Our citizen science initiative helped raise awareness: Empowerment through Education!

Citizen science experiments help validate remote sensing data and emphasize the role of science in decision making.


What makes slow landslides move faster?

Some landslides move slowly and continuously, causing imperceptible damage to homes and infrastructure but becoming costly over decades. With satellite data, we can not only map landslides but also track their speed over time. Precipitation & temperature changes control landslides' acceleration and deceleration periods. 
See our work in GRL and Erin's thesis

The duration and amount of precipitation determine how fast landslides move .. but there is a time lag

The urban Berkeley landslides (CA) accelerate after precipitation with a lag of 30–40 days. The California drought also significantly slowed -and sometimes halted- landslide motion.


From space to underground: Deformation between earthquakes improves knowledge of seismic hazards 

Evaluation of interseismic deformation traditionally relies on GPS, alignment arrays, and creepmeters, which provide precise, but sparse measurements. To improve the spatial resolution of deformation data, we developed a new InSAR time-series method and combined deformation with seismic data to illuminate previously unknown fault structures.
See our work in GRLJGR, G3, & JGR

Hayward & Calaveras faults (in the east San Francisco Bay Area) are directly connected leading to risk for earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 7

Characteristically Repeating Earthquakes and InSAR data illuminate the junction between these faults through an east-dipping plane. Hayward and Calaveras are in fact a single fault branching out in 2 segments.

InSAR alone can resolve long-wavelength deformation signal as small as 2 mm/yr 

We developed a new InSAR time-series method in which interferogram selection is based on the coherence so that we can map deformation in vegetated areas.


Deforming volcanoes can be scary BUT in many cases they shouldn't!

SOME volcanoes deform before they erupt, but OTHERS erupt without precursory deformation, and SOME deform without erupting:
Why and How? 
Moreover not all volcanic deformation is due to an active magmatic system; some comes from lava flows, which can deform for decades and mislead interpretations from the observed deformation
See our work in JVGR, ESRJGR, GRL, & G3

Deformation results from pressure changes in the magmatic system but also from surficial processes such as lava cooling.

At Paricutin, the lava field emplaced in 1943-1952 is *still* cooling, causing over 5 cm/yr of ground subsidence.
At Stromboli the cooling-induced deformation accounts for only 9% of the rapid deformation observed (~70  cm/yr). The rest being gravity-driven.

For the first time, deformation along entire volcanic arcs is constrained through timeseries of InSAR data. For volcanoes, not all that goes up goes down!

In Indonesia and Mexico, some volcanoes did uplift before erupting, while others erupted but did not deform, and others deformed but did not erupt. Why and how does this variability exist are questions that we are working on!

Publications and more

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Google Scholar profile


Professional experience

2019–2021       Assistant Professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences, U. of Oregon
2015–2018       Assistant Professor, Dept. of Geology, U. at Buffalo
2013–2015       Postdoctoral investigator, U. of California, Berkeley
2011–2013        NASA Earth and Space Science Graduate Fellow, U. of Miami
2008–2011       Graduate Research Assistant, U. of Miami
2006–2008     Graduate Research Assistant, U. of Montpellier II (France)


Education & Awards

Ph.D. Univ. of Miami (FL), 2013, Geology & Geophysics
M.Sc. Univ. of Montpellier II, Montpellier (France), 2008, Earth Sciences, magna cum laude
B.Sc.  Univ. of Montpellier II, Montpellier (France),  2006, Earth Sciences, summa cum laude
A.Sc.  Univ. of Burgundy, Dijon (France), 2005, Biology, magna cum laude

2019 Outstanding Reviewer Award, Environmental Research Communications
2016 SUNY Buffalo Julian Park Award, New Faculty Publication
2014 International KACST-KAUST-JCCP workshop Presenter Award
American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award
2012 National Science Foundation Cities on Volcanoes Student Award


Peer reviewed work

Peer-reviewed books and book chapters
In preparation
Chaussard E. Single Editor of Solicited Book: Remote sensing applications to geohazards and natural resources, Springer. 31 chapters, approx. 460p.

Barnhart, W.D. and Chaussard, E. (Accepted) The Seismic Cycle: From Observations to Models of Fault Slip, in Remote sensing applications to geohazards and natural resources, ed. by Chaussard E., Springer, expected Fall 2021.

Chen, J. and Chaussard, E. (Accepted) Remote sensing for tracking groundwater resources in Remote sensing applications to geohazards and natural resources, ed. by Chaussard E., Springer, expected Fall 2021.

Fu, Y., Thomas, B.F. and Chaussard, E. (Accepted) Large-Scale Terrestrial Water Storage Changes Sensed by Geodesy in Remote sensing applications to geohazards and natural resources, ed. by Chaussard E., Springer, expected Fall 2021.

Vellico, M., and Chaussard, E. (Accepted) Carbon Capture and storage in Remote sensing applications to geohazards and natural resources, ed. by Chaussard E., Springer, expected Fall 2021.

Peer-reviewed papers
h-index: 16/ i10-index: 21/ citations: 1474- Publications #1-7= PhD; #8-13 = postdoc **Student first-author under direct advising *Collaboration with student first-author
In Review
Mirzadeh, S.* M. J., Jin, S., Parizi, E., Chaussard, E., Bürgmann, R., Delgado Blasco, J. M., Amani, M., Bao, H.and Mirzadeh, S. H. Characterization of Irreversible Land Subsidence in the Yazd-Ardakan Plain, Iran from 2003-2020 InSAR Time Series.

26. Chaussard, E., Havazli, E., Fattahi, H., Cabral‐Cano, E., & Solano‐Rojas, D. (2021). Over a century of sinking in mexico city: No hope for significant elevation and storage capacity recovery. JGR-Solid Earth, 126, e2020JB020648. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JB020648

25. Hoyt, A.**, Chaussard E., Seppalainen, S.S., Harvey, C.F., (2020). Widespread Subsidence and Carbon Emissions across Southeast Asian Peatlands. Nature Geoscience, 13, 435–440. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-020-0575-4

24. Chaussard, E., & Farr, T. G., (2019). A new method for isolating elastic from inelastic deformation in aquifer systems: Application to the San Joaquin Valley, CA. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 10800– 10809. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL084418

23. Schaefer, L.N.*, Di Traglia, F., Chaussard, E., Lu, Z., Nolesini, T., Casagli N., (2019). Monitoring volcano slope instability with Synthetic Aperture Radar: A review and new data from Pacaya (Guatemala) and Stromboli (Italy) volcanoes. Earth-science reviews, 192, pp236-257, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2019.03.009

22. Xu, W.*, Wu, S., Materna, K., Nadeau, R., Floyd, M., Funning, G., Chaussard, E., Johnson, C.W., Murray, J.R., Ding, X. and Bürgmann, R. (2018), Interseismic ground deformation and fault slip rates in the greater San Francisco Bay Area from two decades of space geodetic data, JGR-Solid Earth, 123(9), 8095-8109, doi: 10.1029/2018JB016004

21. Cohen-Waeber, J.**, Burgmann, R., Chaussard, E., Giannico, C., and Ferretti, A. (2018), Spatiotemporal Patterns of Precipitation-Modulated Landslide Deformation from Independent Component Analysis of InSAR Time Series, Geophysical research Letters, 64(1), 70, doi:10.1016/j.enggeo.2014.03.003

20. Castellazzi, P.*, Longuevergne, L., Martel., R., Rivera, A., Brouard, C., Chaussard, E., Garfias, J. (2018) Combining GRACE and InSAR for quantitative mapping of groundwater depletion at the water management scale, Rem. Sens. Env., 205, 408–418, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2017.11.025

19. Zhan, Y.*, Gregg, P.M., Chaussard, E., and Aoki., Y. (2017) Sequential assimilation of volcanic monitoring data to quantify eruption potential: application to Kerinci volcano, Sumatra. Front. Earth Sci. 5:108. doi: 10.3389/feart.2017.00108

18. Chaussard, E., Milillo P., Bürgmann R., Perissin D., Fielding E. J. & Baker B., (2017). Remote sensing of ground deformation for monitoring groundwater management practices: application to the Santa Clara Valley during the 2012-2015 California drought. Journal of Geophysical Research, 122, 8566-8582. doi.org/10.1002/2017JB014676

17. Chaussard, E., (2017). A low-cost method applicable worldwide for remotely mapping lava dome growth. J. Volcan. geotherm. Res. 341, 33-4, doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.05.017

16. Castellazzi, P.*, Martel, R., Rivera, A., Huang, J., Pavlic, G., Calderhead, A. I., Chaussard, E., Garfias, J., and Salas, J., (2016), Groundwater depletion in Central Mexico: Use of GRACE and InSAR to support water resources management, Water Resources Res., 52, (8), 5985-6003.

15. Chaussard, E., (2016) Subsidence in the Parícutin lava field: causes and implications for interpretation of deformation fields at volcanoes. J. Volcan. geotherm. Res., 320, 1-11.

14. Chaussard, E., Kerosky, S.** (2016) Characterization of Black Sand Mining Activities and Their Environmental Impacts in the Philippines Using Remote Sensing. Remote Sensing, 8(2), 100; doi:10.3390/rs8020100

13. Chaussard, E., Johnson, C.W., Fattahi, H., and Bürgmann, R., (2016) Potential and limits of InSAR to characterize interseismic deformation independently of GPS data: application to the southern San Andreas Fault system. G-cubed, 17, doi:10.1002/2015GC006246

12. Chaussard, E., Bürgmann, R., Fattahi, H., Johnson, C. W., Nadeau, R., Taira, T., and Johanson, I., (2015) Interseismic coupling and refined earthquake potential on the Hayward-Calaveras fault zone, J. of Geophysical Research, 120, doi:10.1002/2015JB012230

11. Chaussard, E., Bürgmann R., Fattahi, H., Nadeau, R., Taira, T., Johnson, C.W., and Johanson, I., (2015) Potential for larger earthquakes in the East San Francisco Bay Area due to the direct connection between the Hayward & Calaveras Faults, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, doi: 10.1002/2015GL063575

10. Fattahi, H.*, Amelung, F., Chaussard, E., Wdowinski, S., (2015) Coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 2007 M5.5 Ghazaband fault earthquake, Balochistan, Pakistan. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL063686

9. Cabral-Cano, E., Solano-Rojas, D., Oliver-Cabrera, T., Wdowinski, S., Chaussard, E., et al. (2015) Satellite geodesy tools for ground subsidence and associated shallow faulting hazard assessment in central Mexico, Proc. of the Int. Assoc. of Hydro. Sc., 372, doi:10.5194/piahs-372-255-2015

8. Chaussard, E., Bürgmann, R., Shirzaei, M., Fielding, E.J., and Baker, B., (2014) Predictability of hydraulic head changes and basin-wide aquifer system and fault characterization from InSAR-derived ground deformation. J. of Geophysical Research, 119, 6572–6590, doi: 10.1002/2014JB011266

7. Chaussard, E., and Amelung, F., (2014) Regional controls on magma ascent and storage in volcanic arcs. G-cubed, 15, doi:10.1002/2013GC005216
6. Chaussard, E., Wdowinski, S., Cabral E., and Amelung, F., (2014). Land subsidence in central Mexico detected by ALOS InSAR time-series, Rem. Sens. of Env., 140, 94–106

5. Chaussard, E., Amelung, F., Abidin, H., & Hong, S.-H., (2013) Sinking cities in Indonesia: ALOS PALSAR detects rapid subsidence due to groundwater and gas extraction. Remote Sensing of Environment, 128, 21, 150-161, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2012.10.015

4. Chaussard, E., and Amelung F., (2013) Characterization of Geological Hazards Using a Globally Observing Spaceborne SAR. Photogram. Eng. & Rem. Sens., 79, 11, 982-986

3. Chaussard, E., Amelung, F., and Aoki, Y., (2013) Characterization of closed and open volcanic systems in Indonesia and Mexico using InSAR time-series. J. of Geophysical Research, 118, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50288

2. Chaussard, E., & Amelung F., (2012) Precursory inflation of shallow magma reservoirs at west Sunda volcanoes detected by InSAR. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, 21, doi: 10.1029/2012GL053817

1. Chaussard, E., Amelung, F., and Abidin, H., (2012) Sinking cities in Indonesia: space-geodetic evidences of the rates and spatial distribution of land subsidence. Proceedings of the FRINGE 2011 Workshop, Frascati, Italy (ESA SP-696)


Other Publications

9. Chaussard, E., et al. (2020) NSF Whitepaper: InSAR in a Future Geophysical Facility.

8. Stamps, D.S., et al. (2020) NSF Whitepaper: An Early Career Investigator Community Vision for the Future NSF Geophysical Facility: Instrumentation Services Needs.

7. Ford, H.A., et al. (2020) NSF Whitepaper: An Early Career Investigator Community Vision for the Future NSF Geophysical Facility: Data Services Needs.

6. Evans, E.L., et al. (2020) NSF Whitepaper: An Early Career Investigator Community Vision for the Future NSF Geophysical Facility: Education, Workforce, and Outreach Needs.

5. Chaussard, E., (2019) Research Frontiers in Characterizing Groundwater Aquifers; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Groundwater Recharge and Flow: Approaches and Challenges for Monitoring and Modeling Using Remotely Sensed Data: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25615.

4. Aster, R., Simons, M., Burgmann, R., Gomez, N., Hammond, B., Holbrook, S., Chaussard, E., Stearns, L., Egbert, G., Hole, J. and Lay, T., Future geophysical facilities required to address grand challenges in the earth sciences (2015). National Science Foundation, 52 p.

3. Chaussard, E., (2013) Characterization of volcanic and land subsidence hazards at regional scales: contributions from space geodesy. Ph.D. Dissertation, U. of Miami

2. Chaussard, E., (2008). Estimation of the forces involved in the current dynamic of the western United States. M.S. Thesis, U. of Montpellier II, Montpellier, France

1. Chaussard, E., (2007). Reconciling geodetic and geologic estimates of the Altyn Tagh Fault's slip rate, Tibet. M.S. Thesis, U. of Montpellier II, Montpellier, France.  


Funding and Grants

Total slected grants: $1,539,334 

NSF CAREER Geomorphology and Land-use Dynamics: PI, Peatland Geomorphology: Quantifying Geomorphological Changes across Southeast Asia Peatlands. 5 years, total cost of $636,991 (2021).

Resilience Initiative U. of Oregon : co-PI, $48,650. An Innovative Collaborative Research Network Focused on the Human Dimension of Environmental Change in SE Asia (2019).

Early Career Faculty Grant, U. of Oregon : PI, $5,000 Spatial extent and trajectory of subsidence and CO2 emissions across southeast Asia peatlands (2019).

NASA Earth Surface and Interior NNH18ZDA001N-ESI A.24 – 18-ESI18-0058: PI, $494,037, Using 25 years of deformation due to groundwater extraction in the Central Valley to characterize time-dependent aquifer properties and quantify the associated stress change on faults (2019-2022)

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program – G16AP00007: PI, $169,474, Interseismic coupling of the north San Francisco Bay faults from InSAR, GPS, and seismic data: collaborative research with UC Berkeley and USGS Menlo Park (2016 -2018)

RENEW Seed grant, U. at Buffalo: PI, $30,182, Towards improving the sustainability of urban infrastructures and groundwater usage in growing cities (2017-2018)

OVPRED (Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development), U. at Buffalo: PI, $150,000, Towards InSAR everywhere all the time (2017)

U. of California Berkeley Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) Award: PI, $5,000, Remote Sensing of Illegal Black Sand Mining in the Philippines (2014-2015)

NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF): PI, Ph.D. Fellowship. Testing hypotheses about the depth of magma chambers in volcanic arcs using ALOS PALSAR (2011 -2014). 

All information and images on this website are copyrighted (2020) by Estelle Chaussard.
Pictures may be used for non-commercial purposes with appropriate source attribution.

Scars remind us where we’ve been, they don’t have to dictate where we’re going
- SSA David Rossi