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Summary of Proposal LAN1499

TitleGeodetic determination of surface deformation due to resource extraction in Australia
Investigator Garthwaite, Matthew - Geoscience Australia, Geodesy and Seismic Monitoring Branch
Team Member
Dr. Thankappan, Medhavy - Geoscience Australia, National Earth Observation group
Ms. Morgan, Linda - Landgate, Landgate
Mr. Schenk, Andreas - Karlsruhe University of Technology, Geodetic Institute
Dr. Filmer, Mick - Curtin University, Western Australian Centre for Geodesy
Prof. Featherstone, Will - Curtin University, Western Australian Centre for Geodesy
Dr. Dawson, John - Geoscience Australia, Earth Monitoring and Hazards
SummaryAustralia is a country rich in natural resources, yet the consequences of extracting these resources on the natural environment are poorly understood. In this proposal we are requesting TerraSAR-X data for two separate but complimentary projects to monitor surface deformation due to extraction of two specific natural resources: groundwater in the Perth basin (Western Australia) and coal seam gas in the Surat Basin (Queensland). Perth is the largest city in Western Australia with a population of 1.5 million people who, given limited surface water resources, depend on groundwater for 70% of their total water requirements. However, groundwater extraction is likely to be causing ground subsidence in the Perth metropolitan area, which can impact on physical and geodetic infrastructure within this region. Moreover, Perth hosts the Fremantle and Hillarys tide gauges that contribute to IPCC predictions of sea level change, so a stable height reference is paramount. To develop an understanding of the spatial and temporal response of the ground surface to groundwater extraction in Perth, we propose using InSAR observations, together with available GPS, levelling, groundwater and sea-level data. For this purpose, we wish to acquire a large number of high resolution TerraSAR-X images to assist in the challenging task of identifying continuing subsidence trends, or signs of uplift from a rebound effect in the aquifer where extraction has been decreased. Since Perth is a growing city with limited water resources, the possibility that increased extraction may be required in the future adds to the importance of fully investigating the behaviour of the aquifer(s) on the land surface. This is also an important test for TerraSAR-X data and current processing methods to significantly determine small magnitude long-term and seasonal deformation signals. In Australia, gas is seen as an attractive alternative to other energy resources because it contains significantly less CO2 than other abundant energy resources such as coal. The introduction of the carbon tax in Australia in July 2012 is expected to lower the relative price of low-carbon fuels (e.g. gas) compared to high-carbon fuels (e.g. coal) reflecting their different carbon intensities. Therefore over the longer term, the carbon tax favours investment in gas as an energy source over coal. This increasing demand for gas in Australia is expected to increase the exploitation of unconventional coal seam gas (CSG) reserves. To date there has been little work conducted on observing ground deformation induced by CSG extraction, and therefore the magnitude of the signal is relatively unknown. Seasonal signals are also expected in the region due to expansion and contraction of the surface clays in the Surat Basin. Using a time-series of TerraSAR-X data requested in this proposal we will determine the magnitude and spatial extent of any subsidence in a small subregion of the Surat basin in the Dalby/Chinchilla region. The major scientific objectives of our proposal are to: * Monitor and investigate the surface deformation associated with the effects of groundwater and coal-seam gas exploitation in Australia using InSAR. * Develop novel techniques for measuring and modelling surface deformation using integrated InSAR, Global Positioning System (GPS), levelling and other geophysical data. * Develop novel techniques for calibrating and validating X-band SAR data by deploying ground-based radar corner reflector arrays for radiometric, geocoding and displacement calibration. The TerraSAR-X data will be the basis for peer-reviewed research publications in high-impact journals and informing public policy. Additionally, we are seeking DLR approval to make the TerraSAR-X data available on a Creative Commons basis (open access) for use by the Australian research community following completion of the proposed research.

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