Environmental baseline monitoring for shale-gas development: insights for monitoring ground motion using InSAR analysis

Jordan, Colm; Bateson, Luke; Novellino, Alessandro. 2019 Environmental baseline monitoring for shale-gas development: insights for monitoring ground motion using InSAR analysis. Science of The Total Environment, 696, 134075.

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Shale gas operations can be contentious, with a degree of uncertainty regarding the effects that they may, or may not, have on the environment. Several countries have moratoria on hydraulic fracturing until its potential effects can be understood better. One area of debate is whether operations could cause ground motion at the surface. This research monitored ground motion prior to operations and compared that baseline to the situation during and after shale gas operations. The test sites are the Vale of Pickering (North Yorkshire) and the Fylde (Lancashire) in the UK. Planning permission was granted in May 2016 to undertake hydraulic fracturing near Kirby Misperton (Vale of Pickering) and in August 2018 at Preston New Road in Lancashire. Hydraulic fracturing has only taken place at Lancashire as it was the only site to also get the hydraulic fracturing plan approved. Complementary Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) techniques were used to process archive and current satellite images to detect relative ground motion with millimetric accuracy in rural and semi-urban landcover. The SBAS, ISBAS and RapidSAR processing for the period from 1992 to 2019 (extending 24 years prior to hydraulic fracturing) identified broad regions with little or no surface motion, along with discrete zones of uplift or subsidence. Analysis of the average velocities and time-series data revealed that the motion, where it occurred, related to factors including compressible ground, groundwater abstraction and underground coal mining. This research concluded that the shale gas operations in Lancashire did not alter the baseline ground motion dynamics to date, as detected by InSAR. The successful application of InSAR for detecting and monitoring ground motion at shale gas sites in rural landcover in the UK, where radar coherence has traditionally been a major challenge, serves as a precedent for other regions where baseline monitoring is required.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00489697
Date made live: 16 Jan 2020 16:23 +0 (UTC)

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