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Long-term subsidence monitoring of the alluvial plain of the Scheldt river in Antwerp (Belgium) using radar interferometry
Declercq, P.-Y.; Gérard, P.; Pirard, E.; Walstra, J.; Devleeschouwer, X. (2021). Long-term subsidence monitoring of the alluvial plain of the Scheldt river in Antwerp (Belgium) using radar interferometry. Remote Sens. 13(6): 1160.
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    PSInSAR; InSAR; subsidence; estuary; antwerp

Auteurs  Top 
  • Declercq, P.-Y., meer
  • Gérard, P.
  • Pirard, E.
  • Walstra, J., meer
  • Devleeschouwer, X., meer

    The coupled effects of climate change, sea-level rise, and land sinking in estuaries/alluvial plains prone to inundation and flooding mean that reliable estimation of land movements/subsidence is becoming more crucial. During the last few decades, land subsidence has been monitored by precise and continuous geodetic measurements either from space or using terrestrial techniques. Among them, the Persistent Scaterrer Interferometry (PSInSAR) technique is used on the entire Belgian territory to detect, map and interpret the identified ground movements observed since 1992. Here the research focuses on one of the biggest cities in Belgium that became the second European harbour with giant docks and the deepening of the Scheldt river allowing the navigation of the largest container vessels. The areas along the embankments of the Scheldt river and the harbour facilities are associated to Holocene fluviatile deposits overlain by recent landfills. These sedimentary deposits and human-made landfills are affected by important and ongoing land subsidence phenomena. The land subsidence process is highlighted by an annual average Line of Sight (LOS) velocity of about −3.4 mm/year during the years 1992–2001 (ERS1/2 datasets), followed by an annual average LOS velocity of about −2.71 mm/year and −2.11 mm/year, respectively, during the years 2003–2010 (ENVISAT) and 2016–2019 (Sentinel 1A). The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery data indicate a progressive decrease in the average annual velocities on a global scale independently of important local variations in different districts along the Scheldt river. On the contrary, the city centre and the old historic centre of Antwerp are not affected by negative LOS velocities, indicating stable ground conditions. A geological interpretation of this difference in settlement behaviour between the different areas is provided.

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