Science Service System

Summary of Proposal GEO2470

TitleInSAR detection of sinkhole activities in central Florida
Investigator Wdowinski, Shimon - Florida International University, Earth and Environment
Team Members
Dr. Wdowinski, Shimon - University of Miami, Marine Geosceinces
Dr. Hong, Sang-Hoon - Korean Polar Research Institute, Polar Earth-System Sciences
Dr. Poncos, Valentin - Kepler Space Inc., Kepler Space Inc.
SummarySinkhole activityin central Florida is a major natural hazard, resulting in severe propertydamage and occasionally in life loss.Over the past year two sinkhole events in central Florida attractedsignificant media attention. In March 2013, a sinkhole collapsed beneath ahouse in Seffner and “swallowed” a person from his bedroom. In August 2013 asinkhole collapse destroyed a resort complex near Disney World.These dramatic events, however, arejust extreme examples that stand out from a steady stream of property damage,which spikes at times of anthropogenic groundwater withdrawals. Detecting incipientsinkhole activity, particularly that which may result in sudden collapse, is achallenging task. However, a recent study of sinkhole activities near the DeadSea (Israel) showed that in some cases, space-based radar observations detectedlocalized subsidence several months prior to sinkholes’ collapse (Nof et al.,2013). Wepropose to use high spatial resolution TSX observations (Staring Spotlight andSpotlight) to monitor sinkhole activities in central Florida. Our main goal isto detect subsiding sites and find possible precursory subsidence prior tosinkhole collapse. Interferometric processing of the data using InSAR timeseries techniques will provide us high spatial resolution maps of surfacemovements with 1-2 mm/yr accuracy, which will enable us to detect localizedsubsidence and better understand activity that may be precursory to sinkholecollapse. Once a subsidencesignal is detected, we will send a ground truthing crew to image the subsurfaceusing GPR. The GPR work will be lead by, Dr. Sarah Kruse (U. of SouthernFlorida), who has studied extensively sinkholes in Central Florida. If bothInSAR and GPR measurements will indicate positive results, we will alert thelocal residents and the authorities. If this project will prove efficient, wewill plan to expand it by offering such services to local authorities andinsurance companies.

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