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Detecting, mapping and monitoring of land subsidence in Jharia Coalfield, Jharkhand, India by spaceborne differential interferometric SAR, GPS and precision levelling techniques


The study aims at detection, mapping and monitoring of land subsidence in Jharia Coalfield, Jharkhand, India by spaceborne DInSAR, GPS and precision levelling techniques. Using multi-frequency C- and L-band DInSAR, both slowly and rapidly subsiding areas were identified and DInSAR-based subsidence maps were prepared. C-band DInSAR was found useful for detection of slowly subsiding areas whereas L-band DInSAR for rapidly subsiding and/or adverse land cover areas. Due to dynamic nature of mining and adverse land cover, temporal decorrelation poses a serious problem particularly in C-band DInSAR. Specially designed InSAR coherence guided adaptive filtering was found useful to highlight the deformation fringes. Collateral GPS and levelling observations were conducted in three test sites to validate DInSAR measurements and to determine the net displacement vectors. We observed an appreciable horizontal displacement component of land subsidence in all the test sites. For comparison of results, we calculated InSAR coherence weighted LOS displacement rates from the unwrapped differential interferograms of smaller spatial subsets and LOS projected ground-based displacement rates in three test sites. We found good agreement between DInSAR and ground-based measurements except for C-band observation in Dobari test site primarily due to large difference in observation periods and temporally inconsistent land subsidence. Collateral spaceborne and ground-based observations were also found useful for characterization of subsidence phenomena to determine net displacement vector and horizontal displacement component. In coal mining areas with spatially scattered and temporally irregular land subsidence phenomena, the adopted methodology can be used successfully for detection, mapping and monitoring of the subsiding areas vulnerable to future collapse. This will facilitate efficient planning and designing of surface infrastructures and other developmental structures in the mining areas and mitigation management of subsidence induced hazards.

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The study was carried out under JEP-Microwave and RISAT-UP Projects of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Dept. of Space, India. The authors gratefully acknowledge Director and Dean, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun, India; Director, Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR), Dhanbad, India; Director, Geodetic and Research Branch, Survey of India, Dehradun, India and Director (Technical Operations), Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), Dhanbad, India for their guidance and support. The authors are immensely grateful to Dr Amar Prakash, Sr. Scientist, CIMFR, Dhanbad, India, Dr I C Das, Sr Scientist, IIRS and Dr P K Champati Ray, Head Geosciences and Geohazards Dept., IIRS, Dehradun, India for technical guidance, suggestions and help during the execution of the project. The authors also sincerely thank and acknowledge the help and services provided by Mr. S N Rajak and Mr. B Paswan of CIMFR, Dhanbad, India, Mr. R K Shahi, Mr. Prabal Dutta and Mr. B S Rawat of Survey of India, Dehradun, India and Mr. P D Sharma of BCCL, Dhanbad, India. The authors gratefully acknowledge Mr. Ritwik Majumdar, Md Ali Akbar, Ms. Suranjana B Borah, Moh. Fifik Syafiudin, Ms. Arpita Sinha and Mr. Asit B Mahato, students and researchers, IIRS, Dehradun, India for their contributions in ground survey and field data collection. The authors convey their sincere gratitude to the staff and officials of the mining agencies namely, BCCL, Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Dhanbad, India for their help and cooperation during ground survey.

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Chatterjee, R.S., Thapa, S., Singh, K.B. et al. Detecting, mapping and monitoring of land subsidence in Jharia Coalfield, Jharkhand, India by spaceborne differential interferometric SAR, GPS and precision levelling techniques. J Earth Syst Sci 124, 1359–1376 (2015).

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  • Land subsidence
  • coal mining area
  • spaceborne DInSAR
  • GPS observation; precision levelling
  • net displacement
  • Jharia Coalfield
  • India