Use of Persistent Scatterer Interferometry to Assess Land Deformation in the Nile Delta and its Controlling Factors

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Esayas G Gebremichael1, Mohamed Sultan1, Richard Becker2, Mustafa Emil1, Mohamed Ahmed1 and Kyle Chouinard1, (1)Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, United States, (2)University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, United States
We applied Persistent scatterer interferometry (PSInSAR) to assess land deformation (subsidence and uplift) across the entire Nile delta and its surroundings and to identify possible causes of the observed deformation. For the purpose of the present study, 100 Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR; level 0) scenes that were acquired along four tracks and covering a time span of seven years (2004 to 2010) were used. The scenes extend from the Mediterranean coast in the north to Cairo city in the south. These scenes were focused using Repeat Orbit Interferometry PACkage (ROI_PAC) software and the subsequent PSI processing was done using the Stanford Method for Persistent Scatterers (StaMPS) method. A low coherence threshold (0.2) was used to decrease the impact of vegetation-related poor coherence and decorrelation of the scenes over the investigated time span. Subsidence was observed over: (1) the Demietta Nile River branch (3 to 14 mm/yr) where it intersects the Mediterranean coastline, (2) thick (~ 40 m) Holocene sediments in lake Manzala (up to 9 mm/yr), (3) reclaimed desert areas (west of Nile Delta; up to 12 mm/yr) of high groundwater extraction, (4) along parts of a previously proposed flexure line (up to 10 mm/yr), and (5) along the eastern sections of the Mediterranean coastline (up to 15.7 mm/yr). The city of Alexandria (underlain by carbonate platform) and the terminus of the Rosetta branch of the Nile River seem to experience almost no ground movement (mean subsidence of 0.28 mm/yr and 0.74 mm/yr respectively) while the cities of Ras Elbar and Port Said (underlain by thick Holocene sediment) exhibit the highest subsidence values (up to 14 mm/yr and 8.5 mm/yr respectively). The city of Cairo has also experienced subsidence in limited areas of up to 7.8 mm/yr. High spatial correlation was also observed between the subsiding areas and the Abu Madi incised valley; the largest gas field in the Nile Delta. Most of the area undergoing subsidence in the Nile Delta is related to sediment compaction and/or groundwater extraction, with other factors such as gas extraction and tectonic drivers correlating with smaller areas.