Science Service System

Summary of Proposal GEO2722

TitleThe study of ColdDebris flow in Northern Alaska with TerraSAR-X images: part 1 achieve data analysis
Investigator Gong, Wenyu - University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute
Team Member
Dr. Darrow, Margaret - University of Alaska Fairbanks, College of Engineering and Mines
Dr. Meyer, Franz - University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute
SummaryA frozen debris lobe (FDL) is encroaching on the Dalton Highway near MP219. FDLs appear to consist of soil and rock, debris, and potentially ice, although only preliminary surface investigations have been conducted on these features thus far. Our knowledge of FDLs is rudimentary, and we have more questions than answers about their internal stratigraphy and mechanisms of movement. Preliminary studies indicate that the FDL at MP 219 is moving towards the Dalton Highway at an average rate of 1 cm per day, and is currently less than 70 m from the roadway.When it arrives at the highway, it will deliver about 22,000 tons of debris a year. For a sense of scale,imagine a 50-ton truck dumping 440 truck-loads of debris onto the highway annually. Should this mass of moving material further encroach upon the Dalton Highway, it may impede the flow of essential goods and services to the oil and gas fields on the North Slope,resulting in severe economic loss. Evenbefore entering the highway right-of-way, this FDL is affecting the highway by depositing a large volume of sediment against the highway embankment, which hasdestroyed drainage by completely burying one culvert and partially burying asecond. The conducted research is to determinethe historical movement mechanism of FDLs, and one of the goals is to monitorits movement to determine the nature of the shear zone, rate and timing of movement, and analysis the slope stability, which would be overall contribute to develop mitigation strategies of potential damage to the FDLs. If the data would be available, we will use TSX data in meter-resolution-scale to study FDLs for early period. We hope the high spatial resolution of TSX leads to improved interferometric coherence and thus improved estimates of movement. We propose to apply InSAR techniques for the analysis of FDL flow dynamics. By searching through TerraSAR-X (TSX)data system, it shows there is TSX achieve image coverage over the study site for period 2007-2013,including more than 20 stripmap images in both descending and ascending mode and a high resolution spot light image in2010. The goal of the archive data proposal is to (1) evaluate the deformation history of FDLs;(2) evaluate thequality of the deformation results generated from the TSX data and determine the best image acquisition season for our further study with satellite radar images, given the FDLs are significant non-linear in time and seasonal dependent; and (3) based on the study result from the archive data adding programmed image for the coming 2015 and/or 2016 (the future data application will be in another proposal).

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