Using Night Lights from Space to Assess Areas Impacted by the 2023 Turkey Earthquake

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9 Scopus citations


The 6 February 2023 earthquakes that hit south-eastern Turkey were amongst the deadliest in the past century. Here, we report the ability to map and quantify areas impacted by these earthquakes using changes in nighttime lights, as mapped by NASA’s VIIRS/DNB sensor. We show the correspondence between the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and impacted areas, located in cities and towns, mostly along the fault line, in areas where macroseismic intensity values were higher than 7. We verified the darkening of night lights as recorded by VIIRS using the new SDGSAT-1 Glimmer multispectral nighttime sensor, as well as by comparing changes in nighttime lights with reports on damaged buildings. The ability to rapidly map impacted areas from space using nighttime lights is of key importance for prioritizing and directing emergency and rescue services globally.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2120
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2023

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© 2023 by the author.


  • earthquake
  • natural disasters
  • night lights


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