The Oasis impact structure, Libya: Geological characteristics from ALOS PALSAR-2 data interpretation

Stephan Van Gasselt, Jung Rack Kim, Yun Soo Choi, Jaemyeong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Optical and infrared remote sensing may provide first-order clues for the identification of potential impact structures on the Earth. Despite the free availability of at least optical image data at highest resolution, research has shown that remote sensing analysis always remains inconclusive and extensive groundwork is needed for the confirmation of the impact origin of such structures. Commonly, optical image data and digital terrain models have been employed mainly for such remote sensing studies of impact structures. With the advent of imaging radar data, a few excursions have been made to also employ radar datasets. Despite its long use, capabilities of imaging radar for studying surface and subsurface structures have not been exploited quantitatively when applied for the identification and description of such features due to the inherent complexity of backscatter processes. In this work, we make use of higher-level derived radar datasets in order to gain clearer qualitative insights that help to describe and identify potential impact structures. We make use of high-resolution data products from the ALOS PALSAR-1 and ALOS PALSAR-2 L-band sensors to describe the heavily eroded Oasis impact structure located in the Libyan Desert. While amplitude radar data with single polarization have usually been utilized to accompany the suite of remote sensing datasets when interpreting impact structures in the past, we conclude that the integration of amplitude data with HH/HV/HH-HV polarization modes in standard and, in particular, in Ultra-Fine mode, as well as entropy-alpha decomposition data, significantly helps to identify and discriminate surface units based on their consolidation. Based on the overarching structural pattern, we determined the diameter of the eroded Oasis structure at 15.6 ± 0.5 km.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalEarth, Planets and Space
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • DInSAR
  • Geomorphology
  • Impact cratering
  • Libya
  • Oasis
  • Paleodrainage
  • Remote sensing


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