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Detection of the Subsidence Affecting a Shopping Center in Marseilles (France) Using SAR Interferometry

Denis Feurer(1) and Jean-Louis Nedellec(1)

(1) BRGM, 117 avenue de Luminy, 13276 Marseille cedex 09, France


The utility of satellite radar interferometry for urban subsidence observation has been demonstrated for several years now. This monitoring tool is able to provide an assessment of the ground motion with a millimetric accuracy and a large spatial coverage. We present here a result of this technique applied to the monitoring of a small area : the «Grand Littoral» shopping centre complex and cinema multiplex in Marseilles, France. This construction work is one of the most important construction site of this last few years in France. Inaugurated in October, 1997, the multiplex had to close 6 of its 15 cinemas five months later because of collapsing risks due to important soil movements. It has been totally closed in July, 1999. The multiplex building demolition is currently under way. Finally, this “flop” represents a cost of 30 millions euros. 14 ERS images acquired between 1993 and 2000 had been processed in order to produce a set of 105 differential interferograms. We performed a recursive correction of orbital and topographic fringes using a FFT computation and a Digital Elevation Model provided by the French National Institute (IGN). The analysis of the interferograms series has allowed to detect unambiguously a signature of few pixels corresponding to the ground movement. From this study, we observed a ground deformation during 1997 to 1998, an overall stability during late1998 to1999 and again a deformation during late1999 to 2000. This study shows that, in specific cases, traditional InSAR is able to provide valuable information on very localised ground deformation. It also shows the interest of a comprehensive study of the full ERS archive of this site in order to assess the stability of the ground before - when no groundbased measurements were available, during, and after the construction works.


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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