Science Service System

Summary of Proposal GEO2509

TitleInSAR analysis of historic buildings structural damage in Mexico City.
Investigator Cabral-Cano, Enrique - Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Instituto de Geofisica
Team Members
PhD student Solano-Rojas, Dario - University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
SummaryLand subsidence in metropolitan areas is a major human-induced geological hazard that affects buildings and other urban infrastructure resulting in severe economical consequences for both individuals and local government administrations. In central Mexico, intense water exploitation in urban areas has resulted in high subsidence rates and consequently increasing geological hazards. Mexico City, which is one of the largest metropolitan in the world, subsidence rates exceed 370 mm/yr. resulting in continuous structural damage to houses and infrastructure. In other cities in central Mexico, subsidence is at relatively lower levels, but still high enough (40-90 mm/yr.) to cause significant surface faulting and induce structural damage to a large number of houses and urban infrastructure. These observed subsidence rates are the result of increasing water demands, rapid decreases of groundwater levels and sediment consolidation due to rapid urban development. The fast growth of the Mexican economy, specially on the more industrialized central and northern part of Mexico suggests that water demand will continue to increase, which will magnify the subsidence in the future and the related hazard in many Mexican urban areas. Thus, proof of concept and methodological developments for rapid, remote sensing tools for assessing subsidence–related structural damage will help promote a wide- spread analysis and monitoring in the coming years by local government administrations. The proposed research focuses on subsidence hazard assessment in selected areas within Mexico City. We will monitor subsidence and its spatial and temporal changes using PS InSAR time series, which can detect urban subsidence extremely well. Previous detailed DInSAR and PSI studies in Mexico City and other Mexican urban centers indicate high subsidence rates and severe structural damage to both houses and city infrastructure while a recent SBAS-based survey along central Mexico (Chaussard et al., 2013) indicates that this process is rapidly becoming a widespread phenomenon that potentially affects a population over 25 million inhabitants. InSAR-derived information and its cartographic products from geodetic imaging will be key to develop a better groundwater extraction strategy in areas that undergo extreme subsidence rates, propose better mitigation strategies and ultimately improve water resource management.

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