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InSAR: synthetic aperture radar interferometry

InSAR has numerous applications in monitoring or identifying land motion (primarily vertical land motion [VLM] but also horizontal depending on the viewing angle of the SAR), e.g., tectonic strain, earthquake rupture, groundwater extraction, landslides, volcanoes. Curtin’s Geodesy Research Group has obtained SAR images through several science projects with international space agencies.

Perth Basin project

The city of Perth’s (population ~1.8 million) Hillarys and Gnangara continuous GPS (CGPS) sites have identified subsidence reaching -6 mm/yr (Featherstone et al. 2012), but there is limited knowledge of VLM in other regions in the Perth Basin. The observed VLM is thought to be caused by groundwater abstraction occurring since the 1970s. We are working towards establishing a holistic monitoring program incorporating InSAR, continuous GPS (CGPS) and repeat levelling. InSAR images are being acquired under a German Space Centre (DLR) science project from October 2012. Processing conducted using two years’ time series indicates subsidence in the northern and southern regions, correlating with bore locations. This work is ongoing.

See researchers’ profiles for publications in this field.


Dr Mick Filmer

Professor Will Featherstone

Mr Robert Holloway (MSc)

Contributing organisations


Western Australian Department of Water

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Geoscience Australia