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Summary of Proposal GEO2920

TitleObserving mining induced subsidence in the western United States using TerraSAR-X DInSAR
Investigator Wempen, Jessica - University of Utah, Mining Engineering
Team Member
Professor McCarter, Michael K. - University of Utah, Mining Engineering
Dr. Bowman, Steve D. - Utah Geological Survey, Geologic Hazards Program
SummaryIn the western United States, subsidence induced by underground mining is most often gradual, on-going, and measureable. Many mines in the western United States are seismically active and some seismicity is expected due to mine development. There have been several large displacement, large extent subsidence events associated with mining disasters, including the 2007 Crandall Canyon Mine collapse in Utah and the 1995 Solvay Mine collapse in Wyoming, and significant seismicity has been associated with these events. Because traditional subsidence surveys (GPS, leveling, and photogrammetric methods) have relatively low spatial resolutions, and because there are often relatively long time frames between surveys, ground deformation associated with mine seismicity is often poorly constrained. The high spatial and temporal resolution offered by TerraSAR-X may help to quantify the relationship between surface displacement and seismicity, and to better define subsidence hazards in underground mining districts in the western United States.
This proposal includes three primary objectives: (1) evaluating the application of DInSAR in mining regions in the western United States with steep terrain and variable ground cover, using X-band SAR data with a short revisit interval, (2) utilizing multiple interferograms spanning consecutive time periods to better define spatial and temporal progression of subsidence in these regions, and (3) comparing surface deformation measured using X-band DInSAR with seismic activity, using seismic data from the University of Utah Seismograph Stations.
Data will be processed with SARscape using repeat pass DInSAR. Necessary data will be collected in StripMap mode, with a single polarization and steep look angle. Ideally, the data will have maximum temporal resolution, to reduce the significance of coherence loss and better define the relationship between ground subsidence and seismicity. Image acquisition is requested for the period from June 2015 to November 2015. Using this SAR data, time series displacement maps will be generated and relationships between mining-induced seismicity and subsidence will be explored. Results will be published and presented at several mining industry conferences in the United States. This project will be primarily funded by a grant from the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH 200-2011-39614).
Final ReportIn the western United States, subsidence induced by underground mining is most often gradual, on-going, and measureable. Many mines in the western United States are seismically active and some seismicity is expected due to mine development. Because traditional subsidence surveys (GPS, leveling, and photogrammetric methods) have relatively low spatial resolutions, and because there are often relatively long time frames between surveys, ground deformation associated with mine seismicity is often poorly constrained.
This proposal included three primary objectives: (1) evaluating the application of X-band DInSAR in active underground mining regions in the western United States with variable terrain and ground cover and progressive ground subsidence, (2) utilizing multiple interferograms spanning consecutive time periods to better define spatial and temporal progression of subsidence in these regions, and (3) comparing surface deformation measured using DInSAR with mining-induced seismicity. Two active underground mining regions, one in the Wasatch Plateau and one in the Green River Basin, were imaged by TerraSAR-X over the period from June 2015 to November 2015. A total of 30 images were acquired.
Typically, in the Wasatch Plateau, subsidence is not precisely measureable using X-band DInSAR. The data are strongly affected by signal noise and saturation due to large displacement rates and by variation in the ground cover conditions. However, the progression of subsidence is definable, and in many cases subsidence magnitudes and rates can be reasonably estimated. In the Green River Basin, subsidence can be precisely measured using X-band DInSAR. Because the X-band data have high spatial and temporal resolutions, detailed characteristics of subsidence are discernable. Generally, DInSAR with high spatial and temporal resolution has potential to provide timely and accurate reports of the magnitude, extent, and rate of subsidence, and also to identify periods when subsidence has ceased or is minimal.
Though both the Wasatch Plateau and the Green River Basin regions exhibit large displacement, relatively rapid subsidence, the characteristics (rates and magnitudes) of MIS are significantly different. In the Wasatch Plateau region, seismicity tends to lag subsidence. Events tend to have magnitudes less than 2.5. Generally, lower rates of subsidence are associated with lower rates of seismicity and higher rates of subsidence are associated with higher rates of seismicity. In the Green River Basin, seismicity is only spatially correlated with surface displacements over long periods (years). Events tend to have magnitudes close to 3, and to occur near regions affected by solution mining where the surface displacements are small. During the TerraSAR-X imaging period, very little seismicity was recorded in either region and none of the events have good spatial correlation with subsidence.

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