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Summary of Proposal GEO3330

TitleSpace-based detection of sinkhole activities in centralFlorida
Investigator Wdowinski, Shimon - Florida International University, Earth and Environment
Team Member
Dr. Wdowinski, Shimon - University of Miami, Marine Geosceinces
Mr. Olever-Cabrera, Talib - University of Miami, Marine Geosceinces
Dr. Kruse, Sarah - Florida Southern University, School of Geosciences
SummarySinkhole activity in central Florida is a major natural hazard, resulting in severe property damage and occasionally in life loss.Over the past several years two sinkhole events in central Florida attracted significant media attention. In March 2013, a sinkhole collapsed beneath a house in Seffner and “swallowed” a person from his bedroom. In August2013 a sinkhole collapse destroyed a resort complex near Disney World.These dramatic events, however, are just extreme examples that stand out from a steady stream of property damage, which spikes at times of anthropogenic groundwater withdrawals. Detecting incipient sinkhole activity, particularly that which may result in sudden collapse, is a challenging task. However, a recent study of sinkhole activities near the Dead Sea (Israel) showed that in some cases, space-based radar observations detected localized subsidence several months prior to sinkholes’ collapse (Nof et al.,2014). We propose to use high spatial resolution TSX observations (Staring Spotlight and Spotlight) to monitor sinkhole activities in central Florida. Our main goal is to detect subsiding sites and find possible precursory subsidence prior to sinkhole collapse. Interferometric processing of the data using InSAR time series techniques will provide us high spatial resolution maps of surface movements with 1-2 mm/yr accuracy, which will enable us to detect localized subsidence and better understand activity that may be precursory to sinkhole collapse. Once a subsidence signal is detected, we will send a ground truthing crew to image the subsurface using GPR. The GPR work will be lead by, Dr. Sarah Kruse (U. of SouthernFlorida), who has studied extensively sinkholes in Central Florida. If both InSAR and GPR measurements will indicate positive results, we will alert the local residents and the authorities. If this project will prove efficient, we will plan to expand it by offering such services to local authorities and insurance companies.

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