Natural Hazards

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 323–343 | Cite as

Characterizing land displacement in complex hydrogeological and geological settings: a case study in the Beijing Plain, China

  • Yongyong Li
  • Huili Gong
  • Lin ZhuEmail author
  • Xiaojuan Li
  • Rong Wang
  • Gaoxuan Guo
Original Paper


Characterization of land displacement induced by long-term overexploitation of groundwater is necessary to ensure sustainable water supply in Beijing, China. The northern part of the Beijing Plain is an important water source area and is also designed for groundwater recharge from South-to-North Water Diversion Project. We aim to depict the process of characterizing land displacement under complex hydrogeological and geological context in the region using remote sensing and geographic information system. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar time-series analysis was used to detect land displacement from 2003 to 2010. Statistic linear regression equations between groundwater level and land displacement were built based on linear consolidation principle. The spatial difference of Pearson correlation coefficient (R) and slope (k) were discriminated to quantify the response of land displacement to groundwater level change. The results show that there are two major displacement cones with annual rates up to −40 and −24 mm year−1. R and k had a negative and positive correlation with increasing land displacement, respectively. A larger R reflects that the groundwater level has a closer relation with the occurrence of land displacement. The weak correlation is due to the delay in the propagation of the pressure drawdown in the fine-sediment layers or lens from the pumped aquifers where the pressure is measured. Thick compressible layer has more potential for land displacement. Results of this study are necessary to clarify the land displacement characteristics, to make full use of abundant spatial–temporal dataset, and ultimately to support hazard prevention and mitigation decisions.


Land displacement Interferometric synthetic aperture radar Pearson correlation coefficient Groundwater level Compressible layer thickness 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41130744, 41171335 and 41201420), and the National Program on Key Basic Research Project (973 Program) (Grant No. 2012CB723403), and the Beijing Science and Technology Program (Z131100005613022). We thank all the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions on the quality improvement of our paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Base of the State Key Laboratory of Urban Environmental Process and Digital ModelingCollege of Resource Environment and Tourism, Capital Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Beijing Institute of Hydrogeology and Engineering GeologyBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Earth ScienceUniversity of Chinese Academy ScienceBeijingChina

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