Differential Interferometry Techniques on L-Band Data Employed for the Monitoring of Surface Subsidence Due to Mining
Mining activities in South Africa changes the natural environment in several ways. Challenges for mining companies lie in the detection and monitoring of surface subsidence and there exists a need for a long term monitoring system. Field-based techniques for deformation measurement are labour intensive and time consuming and, consequently, the implementation of these techniques for long-term monitoring is not ideal. On the other hand, satellite remote sensing data provides a synoptic view of an area and the repeat image acquisition strategy implies that the long-term monitoring of surface deformation is a possibility. This paper investigates the use of L-band ALOS PALSAR data for the detection and monitoring of surface subsidence due to underground mining activities in the Witbank Coalfields. Surface subsidence was detected for a period of over 3 years between 2007/08/16 and 2010/10/09. Centimetre scale surface deformation was detected in the study area and is associated with areas of active mining. The systematic evolution of the surface deformation basins over time was recognised and is consistent with the advance of the working face of the mine during the same period. The results confirm that L-band synthetic aperture radar data through dInSAR techniques can be used for the long-term monitoring of surface subsidence associated with mining activities.