Investigating Subsidence in the Bursa Plain, Turkey, Using Ascending and Descending Sentinel-1 Satellite Data

Aslan G., Çakır Z., Lasserre C., Renard F.

REMOTE SENSING, vol.11, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/rs11010085
  • Journal Name: REMOTE SENSING
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


We characterize and monitor subsidence of the Bursa Plain (southern Marmara region of Turkey), which has been interpreted as resulting from tectonic motions in the region. We quantify the subsidence using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) time-series analysis. The Stanford Method for Persistent Scatterers InSAR package (StaMPS) is employed to process series of Sentinel 1 A-B radar images acquired between 2014 and 2017 along both ascending and descending orbits. The vertical velocity field obtained after decomposition of line-of-sight velocity fields on the two tracks reveals that the Bursa plain is subsiding at rates up to 25 mm/yr. The most prominent subsidence signal in the basin forms an east-west elongated ellipse of deformation in the east, and is bounded by a Quaternary alluvial plain undergoing average vertical subsidence at similar to similar to 10 mm/yr. Another localized subsidence signal is located 5 km north of the city, following the Bursa alluvial fan, and is subsiding at velocities up to 25 mm/yr. The comparison between temporal variations of the subsiding surface displacements and variations of the water pressure head in the aquifer allows estimation of the compressibility of the aquifer, It falls in the range of0.tic5x10-6-2x10-6 Pa-1, which corresponds to typical values for clay and sand sediments. We find a clear correlation between subsidence patterns and the lithology, suggesting a strong lithological control over subsidence. In addition, the maximum rate of ground subsidence occurs where agricultural activity relies on groundwater exploitation. The InSAR time series within the observation period is well correlated with changes in the depth of the ground water. These observations indicate that the recent acceleration of subsidence is mainly due to anthropogenic activities rather than tectonic motion.