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Ground instability detection using PS-InSAR in Lanzhou, China

Zeng, R.Q.; Meng, X.M.; Wasowski, J.; Dijkstra, T.; Bovenga, F.; Xue, Y.T.; Wang, S.Y.. 2014 Ground instability detection using PS-InSAR in Lanzhou, China. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 47 (4). 307-321. 10.1144/qjegh2014-040

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Abstract/Summary

This paper reports on the application of radar satellite data and Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PS-InSAR) techniques for the detection of ground deformation in the semi-arid loess region of Lanzhou, northwestern China. Compared with Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR), PS-InSAR overcomes the problems of temporal and geometric de-correlation and atmospheric heterogeneities by identifying persistent radar targets (PS) in a series of interferograms. The SPINUA algorithm was used to process 40 ENVISAT ASAR images for the study period 2003–2010. The analysis resulted in the identification of over 140000 PS in the greater Lanzhou area covering some 300 km2. The spatial distribution of moving radar targets was checked during a field campaign and highlights the range of ground instability problems that the Lanzhou area faces as urban expansion continues to accelerate. The PS-InSAR application detected ground deformations with rates up to 10 mm a−1; it resulted in the detection of previously unknown unstable slopes and two areas of subsidence. Lanzhou is the capital of Gansu Province and is one of the most important industrial cities in NW China (Fig. 1). The 12th Five-Year Plan and the 2011 National Economic and Social Development Statistical Bulletin of Lanzhou City indicate that the gross domestic product (GDP) of Lanzhou more than doubled in the last decade, reaching some 136 billion Yuan (c. £13.6 billion). This is associated with a rapid increase in the urban population and current forecasts suggest that the remaining undeveloped land can sustain further development for only some 10–15 years (Yao 2008). Increasingly, people have to encroach on marginal areas having a greater potential for ground instability. Since 1949, a variety of geohazards (mainly comprising landslides, debris flows, soil collapse, subsidence and floods) in Lanzhou have caused some 676 deaths and an estimated cumulative direct economic loss of some 756 million Yuan (Ding & Li 2009; Dijkstra et al. 2014). It is expected that further casualties and economic impacts will result in this unstable landscape unless a better understanding of the spatial distribution and causes of typical geohazards involving ground instability can be implemented in the development of land-use management practices, urban planning and the design of mitigation strategies. Satellite-based radar interferometry provides an opportunity to map ground deformation over large areas of interest. This paper highlights the use of PS-InSAR (Permanent Scatterer Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry) in a region where an incomplete ground instability inventory exists

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1144/qjegh2014-040
ISSN: 1470-9236
Date made live: 06 Jan 2015 14:53 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/509245

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