We present a detailed survey on the ongoing destabilization process of the Mosul dam. The dam is located on the Tigris river and is the biggest hydraulic structure in Iraq. From a geological point of view the dam foundation is unstable due to the underlying geology that is formed by alternate and variable strata of highly soluble materials such as gypsum, anhydrite, marl and limestone. Here we present the first comprehensive multi-sensor cumulative deformation map for the dam generated from space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements from the Italian constellation COSMO-SkyMed and the European Sentinel-1a satellite. We compared 2014-2016 data to an historic dataset spanning 2004-2010 acquired with the Envisat ASAR sensor. We found that deformation was rapid during 2004-2010, slowed down in 2012-2014, and restarted in August 2014 when grouting operations stopped due to the temporary capture of the dam by the self proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We took advantage of the availability of data from multiple SAR satellites to infer the deformation at the dam in great spatial and temporal detail and shed new light on the processes of the ongoing destabilization. This study highlights how new constellations of SAR sensors together with the availability of historical datasets are leading to important advances in deformation monitoring of small scale geologic and manmade features.

The ongoing destabilization of the Mosul dam as observed by synthetic aperture radar interferometry

Maria Cristina Porcu
;
Fabio Soccodato
;
2017

Abstract

We present a detailed survey on the ongoing destabilization process of the Mosul dam. The dam is located on the Tigris river and is the biggest hydraulic structure in Iraq. From a geological point of view the dam foundation is unstable due to the underlying geology that is formed by alternate and variable strata of highly soluble materials such as gypsum, anhydrite, marl and limestone. Here we present the first comprehensive multi-sensor cumulative deformation map for the dam generated from space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements from the Italian constellation COSMO-SkyMed and the European Sentinel-1a satellite. We compared 2014-2016 data to an historic dataset spanning 2004-2010 acquired with the Envisat ASAR sensor. We found that deformation was rapid during 2004-2010, slowed down in 2012-2014, and restarted in August 2014 when grouting operations stopped due to the temporary capture of the dam by the self proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We took advantage of the availability of data from multiple SAR satellites to infer the deformation at the dam in great spatial and temporal detail and shed new light on the processes of the ongoing destabilization. This study highlights how new constellations of SAR sensors together with the availability of historical datasets are leading to important advances in deformation monitoring of small scale geologic and manmade features.
Strain; Synthetic aperture radar; Numerical models; Geology; Earth; Satellites; Monitoring
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/233247
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