Subsidence hazard and risk assessments for Mexico City: An interdisciplinary analysis of satellite-derived subsidence map (PSInSAR) and census data.
Abstract:The Mexico City Metropolitan Area is the largest urban center in the American continent, with 20.4 millions of inhabitants, representing 17.8% of the total population of the country. Over the past several decades Mexico City has been experienced rapid subsidence, up to ~370 mm/yr, caused by groundwater extraction. The subsidence rate is inhomogeneous, as it controlled by the local geology. Unconsolidated sediments tend to compact and induce rapid subsidence, whereas subsurface volcanic rocks are less prone to subsidence. Intensive faulting in the city has been observed in areas of differential deformation; in these areas buildings and infrastructure are highly damaged. Quantification of subsidence-induce damage is needed for establishing the magnitude of the phenomenon.
Our study uses three data sources: a satellite-derived subsidence map, census information of population distribution for 2010, and information on buildings and infrastructure. The subsidence map was calculated from 29 SAR scene acquired by the Envisat satellite during the years 2003-2010 using the Persistent Scatterers Interferometry (PSI) method with the SqueeSAR algorithm. The information of the census of population comes from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), which also provides the information about infrastructure. We intersected the information from the three maps using a geographic information system (GIS), which cover an area of 1, 640 km2. As subsidence-induced damage occurs mainly in areas of differential subsidence, we based the GIS analysis on the subsidence gradients, rather than subsidence rates. In order to evaluate subsidence-induced faulting risk, we generated a risk matrix that worked as the main parameter to create a risk map. We then reclassified the urban area into 5 zones according to the related risk, with R0 for the lowest risk and R4 for the highest. Our counting showed that 350 km2 of the city is located in an urban area of high to very high risk, which represents 21.7 % of the total area. These areas include ~5.8 millions of inhabitants, which are 34.5% of the total population in Mexico City.