Subsidence

Five Sentinel-1A radar scans acquired between 3 October and 2 December 2014 were combined to create this image of ground deformation in Mexico City. The deformation is caused by ground water extraction, with some areas of the city subsiding at up to 2.5 cm/month (red). Image: Copernicus data (2014)/ESA/DLR Microwave and Radar Institute–SEOM InSARap study.

Definition

Subsidence refers to the sinking of the ground due to groundwater removal, mining, dissolution of limestone (e.g. karst, sinkholes), extraction of natural gas, and earthquakes. (IRDR)

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News

Ground deformation map of Pistoia in Tuscany. Using data acquired between 2014 and 2019 from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, the map shows subsidence in red and uplift in blue. Image: ESA/TRE ALTAMIRA.

The lowering or sinking of the ground’s surface, referred to as land subsidence, can cause serious damage to infrastructure and private property, and in turn, have an adverse impact on communities, individuals, and the economy. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel-1 satellite, part of the Copernicus programme, is being used to monitor cases of land subsidence and contribute to risk assessment and urban development efforts.

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Publishing date: 30/05/2019

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