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Application of Permanent Scatterers on Mining Induced Subsidence

Michaela Kircher(1) and Achim Roth(2)

(1) University of Bonn, Nussalle 8, 53115 Bonn, Germany
(2) German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany


Our study area is an active brown coal mining area in the Lower Rhine Embayment, Germany. It is a rural area with moderate topography, and divided in two big clods (the Erft-clod and the Cologne-clod) by NW-SE striking faults. Groundwater withdrawal around the open cast pits has led to wide spread subsidence, with a maximum subsidence rate of approximately 10 cm per year.

Conventional Differential SAR Interferometry can hardly be applied to study this area due to temporal decorellation. Therefore, we use the Permanent Scatterer technique (PS), invented at POLIMI by Ferretti et al., to analyze this area. The PS technique overcomes the problem of temporal decorellation by only considering time-stable points in a stack of many radar images. This technique has proven to be very well suited for the analysis of urbanized area, and we have successfully applied it to a more rural area.

Our first results are obtained using 40 ERS-1/2 images. An elliptic subsidence bowl of approximately 18 by 12 km can be observed, which agrees very well with available ground-based leveling data. Differences in the deformation rate are in the order of a few percent.

Research is ongoing to improve the estimation and to investigate the correlation between the structure of the subsidence bowl and the regional tectonics by analyzing systematic changes of the displacement rates on both sides of the faults.


Full paper

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry