We have used an airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar as a means of monitoring The Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana World Heritage Site in Peru where the colossal ground drawings popularly known as the Nasca Lines are found. Our research and findings to date indicate that the environment in which the Nasca geoglyphs are found and the nature of the geoglyphs themselves are suited perfectly for investigation by SAR; SAR also provides a new and valuable tool for understanding the human activities and natural processes that have damaged the geoglyphs and which, unchecked, will continue to do so in the future. Further, SAR can be used to categorize geoglyphs according to structural differences and similarities in ways that have heretofore not been possible, thereby serving as a basis for a geoglyph catalogue.
Bruce Chapman is a scientist in the Radar Science and Engineering Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, CA. He received his AB in physics and Astronomy from UC Berkeley, and his PhD from the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Department at MIT. He is a member of the Science Definition Team for the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), and a member of the JAXA ALOS Kyoto and Carbon Initiative Science Team.