Spatiotemporal characterization of land subsidence and uplift in Phoenix using InSAR time series and wavelet transforms

Megan Marie Miller, Manoochehr Shirzaei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The effects of land subsidence pose a significant hazard to the environment and infrastructure in the arid, alluvial basins of Phoenix, Arizona. Improving our understanding of the source and mechanisms of subsidence is important for planning and risk management. Here we employ multitemporal interferometric analysis of large synthetic aperture radar data sets acquired by ERS and Envisat satellites to investigate ground deformation. The ERS data sets from 1992 to 1996 and Envisat, 2003-2010, are used to generate line of sight (LOS) time series and velocities in both the ascending and descending tracks. The general deformation pattern is consistent among data sets and is characterized by three zones of subsidence and a broad zone of uplift. The multitrack Envisat LOS time series of surface deformation are inverted to obtain spatiotemporal maps of the vertical and horizontal deformation fields. We use observation wells to provide an in situ, independent data set of hydraulic head levels. Then we analyze vertical interferometric synthetic aperture radar and hydraulic head level time series using continuous wavelet transform to separate periodic signal components and the long-term trend. The isolated signal components are used to estimate the elastic storage coefficient, the inelastic skeletal storage coefficient, and compaction time constants. Together these parameters describe the storage response of an aquifer system to changes in hydraulic head and surface elevation. Understanding aquifer parameters is useful for the ongoing management of groundwater resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5822-5842
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • InSAR
  • aquifer parameters
  • aquifer storage
  • poroelastic
  • subsidence
  • uplift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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