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Dr. Estelle Chaussard

Assistant Professor, University of Oregon

About me
My Research
TGER lab
Publications & more

I am a Professor in the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Oregon & the TGER Lab (Tectonic, Geohazards & Environmental Remote Sensing) director.

My research focuses on the development and usage of space geodetic techniques to detect small movements of the Earth's surface and define the risks implied.
I use these techniques to study natural resources and geohazards problems such as water challenges, landscape evolution, volcanism, earthquakes, & landslides.

I work at the frontiers of the fields of geodesy, active tectonics, hydrology, volcanology, geomorphology, numerical modeling, and risks assessment.



Tropical peat is degrading but How fast? Where? Why? What are the associated flooding  and climatic impacts?
+ landslides & mining


Land subsidence is a wide-spread result of groundwater extraction, but what can it tell us about the state and sustainability of water resources?

Active Tectonics

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


Deformation at volcanoes: what can and can't it tell us about what is happening below the ground?
 Why are eruptions only sometimes following?

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 black sand 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.


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 GRL, 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 250 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, and the Santa Clara ValleyRenee, from the TGER lab is working on how groundwater extraction may also affect seismicity through advanced hydrological modeling. 


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 Becca from the TGER lab is working on.

The TGER Lab

We are a group of geophysicists, geodesists, volcanologists, hydrogeologists, and tectonicists interested in the sustainability of natural resources and in the processes involved in geohazards. We use a variety of tools, such as InSAR, GPS, LiDAR, optical imagery, seismic data, and numerical models to approach research questions mentioned in the Research Tabs. We reside in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon.

Becca Bussard

PhD student

Renee Nassif

PhD student


Past TGER researchers are now postdocs, consultants, working for the federal government, and for exploration companies

Alison Hoyt, PhD - now a postdoc @ the Max Planck Institute

Julien Cohen-Waeber, PhD - now a Managing Engineer @ Exponent

Sara Kerosky Guenther, PhD - now a postdoc
@ Montana State

Erica Sweeney, MS - now a Senior Geologist @ Riverside Resources

Erin Girven, MS -now a Federal employee in DC


Why Earth Sciences at UO?

With 27 faculty members, there are plenty of student opportunities in Volcanology, Geophysics, Geodesy, Glaciology, Geology, Geomorphology, Hydrology, and more.

A united and friendly environment with countless mentoring activities

If you are interested in earthquakes you can learn from 10 faculty
If you love volcanoes you could work with 9 faculty
If you are into landslides, glaciers or water you could work with 10 faculty

A unique setting for collaborative work that aims to answer scientific problems at the forefront of societal needs

UO's collaborative environment provides an ideal setting for the TGER lab where we aim to improve urban resilience: the intersection of geological hazards (how geology influences our society) and environmental sciences (how we influence the Earth). 


A diverse community working as one

UO's Geophysic group breaks tradition by having 44% of female faculty, almost three times the national average!
Similarly the TGER group members have been 86% female.

Why Eugene, OR

After living in many parts of the world (France, Italy, Mexico, Florida, California, and Western NY)
and visiting 23 countries, here are some of the reasons why I chose to call Eugene my "home"


Mountains (volcanoes), Waterfalls, Ocean, & Forests

It’s gorgeous out here! Judge for yourself while you take a hike or go on a climb.


Football, Beer & Music

Come cheer on the Ducks in the loudest stadium in the country! Then relax at one of our many craft breweries or choose among our endless string of festivals and events.    


The Last Move You’ll Want to Make

In Oregon there is no sales tax, the people are friendly, the culture is unique and thriving, and everyone pretty much agrees to the philosophy of live and let live. Come join us!

Or contact me to learn more about opportunities


Publications and more

Download my CV here

Google Scholar profile


Professional experience

2019–          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)



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


Peer reviewed publications

**Student first-author under direct advising/mentoring
*Collaboration with student first-author

Chaussard E., (in prep). Book: Remote sensing applications to geohazards and natural resources problems, Springer.

Chaussard E., Havazli. E., Fattahi, H., Crabral-Cano, E. (in review, JGR-solid Earth) Over a Century of Sinking in Mexico City: No Hope for Elevation, Water Levels, and Water Quality Recovery.

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., 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

13. 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

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., Salazar-Tlaczani, L., Cigna, F., Demets, C., and Pacheco-Martínez, J., (2015) Satellite geodesy tools for ground subsidence and associated shallow faulting hazard assessment in central Mexico, Proceedings of the Int. Assoc. of Hydro. Sc., 372, 255–260, 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. FRINGE Proceedings


Other Publications

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

U. of Oregon, Early Career Faculty Travel Grant: 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)

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

U. at Buffalo, Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED): 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).


Professional service

2019–now Book Editor for Springer “Remote sensing applications to characterize geohazards and natural resources”
2019 Editor for Journal of Geodesy
2018–now Editor for Remote Sensing, Special Issue "SAR for Natural Hazards"
2018–now Associate editor for Remote Sensing in Earth Systems Sciences

Committees and related activities
2019–2021: Vice Chair of the WInSAR Executive Committee – Elected. The Western North America InSAR (WInSAR) Consortium facilitates collaboration in, and advancement of, Earth science research using radar remote sensing. WInSAR has 303 institution members and 16732 registered users.
2019: National Academy of Sciences panel member for the Board on Groundwater.
2018–now:Mentor for the AGU Geodesy, Seismology, and Tectonophysics Networking group
2018: Panel member of the 2018 Grand Challenges in Geodesy workshop.
2016–2018: Board of Directors of Unavco – Elected. Non-profit university-governed consortium with 5-year NSF and NASA funding of $92M. Unavco operates 1400 GPS stations, leads workshops, supports 150 research projects, and develops outreach material to facilitate geoscience research and education.
2015: National Academy of Sciences panel member for the Board on Earth and Science Resources: Landslides and landslide risk.
2015: Member of the NASA CORE board on redefining the “Challenges and Opportunities for Research in Earth Surface and Interior”.
2015: Member of the NSF SAGE/GAGE (Seismology Advancing Geosciences and EarthScope/Geodesy Advancing Geosciences and EarthScope) writing committee. Final report “Future Seismic & Geodetic Facility Needs in Geosciences”.

Professional Society
2021: SAGE/GAGE (Seismology Advancing Geosciences /Geodesy Advancing Geosciences) invited session chair
2020: Convener 2020 AGU Fall meeting session "Recent Advances in SAR and InSAR Data Processing, Big Data Analysis and Earth Science Applications"
2020: Convener 2020 AGU Fall meeting session "Peatlands dynamics, disturbance and restoration"
2018: Co-convener, 2018 AGU Fall meeting session "Multiscale Processes Influencing Tectonics and Earthquakes at Plate Boundary Fault Systems"

Reviewer for NSF, NASA, and the following journals: Nature; Nature Geoscience; Science; Earth and Planetary Science; Geophysical Research Letters; J. Geophysical Research; Water Resources Research; Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems; Natural Hazards; Remote Sensing of Environment; Remote Sensing; Environmental Research Communications; J. of Applied Earth Observations and Geoinformation; J. of Geodesy (10-15 review/year).

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.
This site is maintained by the author for personal and professional communications as authorized by the University of Oregon’s computer use policies. The content and opinions expressed on this web site do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Oregon or the Oregon University System.