Science Service System

Summary of Proposal RES1884

TitleSubsidence hazard and water resources management in central Mexico urban areas
Investigator Cabral-Cano, Enrique - Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Instituto de Geofisica
Team MemberNo team members defined
SummaryLandsubsidence in metropolitan areas is a major human-induced geological hazardthat affects buildings and urban infrastructure and results in severeeconomical consequences for both individuals and local governmentadministrations. In central Mexico, intense water exploitation in urban areashas resulted in high subsidence rates and consequently increasing geologicalhazards. Mexico City, which is one of the largest metropolitan in the world,subsidence rates exceed 370 mm/yr. resulting in continuous structural damage tohouses and infrastructure. In other cities in central Mexico, subsidence is atrelatively lower levels, but still high enough (40-90 mm/yr.) to causesignificant surface faulting and induce structural damage to a large number ofhouses and urban infrastructure. These observed subsidence rates are induced byincreasing water demands, rapid groundwater level drop and sedimentconsolidation occurring due to rapid growth of urban development and higherstandard of living. The fast growth of the Mexican economy, specially on themore industrialized central and northern part of Mexico suggests that waterdemand will continue to increase, which will magnify the subsidence in thefuture and the related hazard in many Mexican urban areas. Theproposed research focuses on subsidence hazard assessment in several Mexicanurban areas that span the central Mexico highlands, and range from Puebla inthe eastern sector to Tepic in the western sector (Figure 1) and includePuebla, Mexico City, Toluca, Queretaro, Irapuato, Salamanca, Celaya, San LuisPotosí, Morelia, Leon & Silao, Aguascalientes, Zamora, Guadalajara/Zapopan,Sayula, Ahuacatlan, and Tepic. We will monitor subsidence and its spatial andtemporal changes using InSAR time series (SBAS and PSI), which can detect urbansubsidence extremely well. Previous detailed DInSAR and PSI studies in MexicoCity and Morelia indicate high subsidence rates and severe structural damage toboth houses and city infrastructure while a recent SBAS-based survey alongcentral Mexico (Figure 2) indicates that this process is rapidly becoming awidespread phenomenon that potentially affects a population over 25 millioninhabitants. InSAR-derived information and its cartographic products fromgeodetic imaging will be key to develop a better groundwater extractionstrategy in areas that undergo extreme subsidence rates, propose bettermitigation strategies and ultimately improve water resource management.

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