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Measurement of surface subsidence hazard in Iran from satellite radar interferometry

Mahdi Motagh(1), Thomas, R. Walter(1), Mohammad Ali Sharifi(2), Eric Fielding(3), Andreas Schenk(4), Jan Anderssohn(5) and Jochen Zschau(1)

(1) GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ), Telegrafenberg Haus E, Sektion 2.1, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
(2) University of Tehran, Department of Geomatics and Surveying Engineering, 11155-4563, Tehran, Iran
(3) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, United States
(4) Wuerzburg University, Institute for Geography, 97074 W├╝rzburg, Germany
(5) GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ), Telegrafenberg Haus A, Sektion 1.4, 14473 Potsdam, Germany


Satellite Radar Interferometry (InSAR) has proven to be a valuable tool for measuring groundwater-induced deformation in developed aquifer systems. This paper presents results from an InSAR survey carried out to address land subsidence caused by groundwater overexploitation in Iran. We have used SAR images acquired by the Envisat satellite and created interferograms imaging 13 plain aquifers and valleys. We infer 6 major sources of appreciable land subsidence (more than 10 cm/yr in amplitude, tens of km across) caused by groundwater overextraction: Tehran, Rafsanjan, Zarand-Kerman, Yazd-Ardakan, Kashmar, and Mashhad. If current trends of water-exploitation continue, we expect the cumulative subsidence in plain aquifers surveyed in this work to exceed 10 m in the next 15 years.


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