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Open AccessArticle

Detection and Monitoring of Tunneling Induced Ground Movements Using Sentinel-1 SAR Interferometry

Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Urbino, Campus Scientifico “Enrico Mattei”, 61029 Urbino, Italy
RASER Limited, Hong Kong, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(6), 639;
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 28 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 15 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
PDF [8481 KB, uploaded 18 March 2019]


SAR interferometry is a powerful tool to obtain millimeter accuracy measurements of surface displacements. The Sentinel-1 satellite mission nowadays provides extensive spatial coverage, regular acquisitions and open availability. In this paper, we present an MT-InSAR analysis showing the spatial and temporal evolution of ground displacements arising from the construction of a 3.71 km overflow tunnel in Genoa, Italy. Underground tunneling can often modify the hydrological regime around an excavated area and might induce generalized surface subsidence phenomena due to pore pressure variations, especially under buildings. The tunnel was excavated beneath a densely urbanized area lying on upper Cretaceous marly limestone and Pliocene clays. Significant cumulative displacements up to 30 mm in the Line of Sight (LOS) direction were detected during the tunnel excavation. No displacements were recorded before until the middle of 2016. The Persistent Scatterers Interferometry (PSI) analysis reveals in high detail the areal subsidence, especially where the subsurface is characterized by clay and alluvial deposits as well as there is the presence of large building complexes. The time-series and the displacement rate cross-sections highlight a clear relation with the tunnel face advancement, responsible for the subsidence phenomena, which proceeded northward starting from the middle of 2016 to the end of 2017. The stabilization occurred in a range of five-six months from the beginning of each displacement phase. Due to the low subsidence ratio the ground settlements did not cause severe damages to the buildings. View Full-Text
Keywords: SAR interferometry; tunnel; land subsidence; Sentinel SAR interferometry; tunnel; land subsidence; Sentinel

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Roccheggiani, M.; Piacentini, D.; Tirincanti, E.; Perissin, D.; Menichetti, M. Detection and Monitoring of Tunneling Induced Ground Movements Using Sentinel-1 SAR Interferometry. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 639.

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