Abstract

Igneous dikes buried beneath as much as 2 m of alluvium in the Mojave Desert of California were detected by the SEASAT L-band (23.5-cm wavelength) synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) in 1978. The roughness and dihedral configuration of the dikes are favorable to generation of strong radar echos. The soil-moisture levels in 1978 were likely below the critical 1% level. The other permissive conditions for radar penetration of a fine-grained and thin alluvial cover are present. Our findings suggest that subsurface features with potential tectonic or geomorphic significance may be revealed in other orbital radar images of semiarid terrains.

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