Spatiotemporal Characterization of Aquifers Using InSAR Time Series and Time-dependent Poroelastic Modeling in Phoenix, Arizona
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 4:15 PM
Alluvial basins in Phoenix experience surface deformation due to large volumes of fluid withdrawn and added to aquifers. The spatiotemporal pattern of deformation is controlled by pumping and recharge rates, hydraulic boundaries, and properties such as diffusivity, transmissivity, and hydraulic conductivity. Land subsidence can cause damages to structures, earth fissures, and a permanent loss of aquifer storage; effects are often apparent after the onset of sustained events. Improving our understanding of the source and mechanisms of deformation is important for risk management and future planning.
Monitoring subsidence and uplift using InSAR allows for detailed, dense spatial coverage with less than one cm measurement precision. Envisat data acquired from 2003-11 includes 38 ascending and 53 descending SAR images forming 239 and 423 coherent interferograms respectively. Displacement is separated into vertical and horizontal components by accounting for the satellite look angle and combining ascending and descending line of sight (LOS) data. Vertical velocity from Envisat reveals subsidence reaching -1.84 cm/yr and 0.60 cm/yr uplift. ERS 1&2 satellites delivered useful data from 1992-97, comprised of 6 ascending and 12 descending SAR images. Ascending images form 7 interferograms with LOS velocity from -1.23 to 1.65 cm/yr; descending images produce 25 interferograms with LOS velocity rates from -1.40 to 0.75 cm/yr. InSAR time series are compared with hydraulic head levels from 33 observation wells. Wavelet decomposition is used to separate the long-term, inelastic components from cyclic, elastic signals in InSAR and well level data. The specific storage coefficient, a parameter used in poroelastic models, is estimated as the ratio of cyclic vertical deformation to the equivalent component of the well level time series.
Poroelastic theory assumes that pore pressure and fluid mass within the aquifer change during fluid withdrawal, while the relatively impermeable aquifer boundaries remain unchanged; thus, long-term aquifer compaction varies linearly with the decline in pore pressure. Performing inversion analysis, subsurface pressure changes are decoupled and calculated from deformation and well level data. The pressure front can then be used in forward modeling to project future patterns.