Engelbrecht, Jeanine. Parameters affecting interferometric coherence and implications for long-term operational monitoring of mining-induced surface deformation. PhD Thesis. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, 2013.
Surface deformation due to underground mining poses risks to health and safety as well as infrastructure and the environment. Consequently, the need for long-term operational monitoring systems exists. Traditional field-based measurements are point-based meaning that the full extent of deforming areas is poorly understood. Field-based techniques are also labour intensive if large areas are to be monitored on a regular basis. To overcome these limitations, this investigation considered traditional and advanced differential radar interferometry techniques for their ability to monitor large areas over time, remotely. An area known to be experiencing mining induced surface deformation was used as test case. The agricultural nature of the area implied that signal decorrelation effects were expected. Consequently, four sources of data, captured at three wavelengths by earth-orbiting satellites were obtained. This provided the opportunity to investigate different phase decorrelation effects on data from standard imaging platforms using real-world deformation phenomenon as test-case.
The data were processed using standard dInSAR and polInSAR techniques. The deformation measurement results together with an analysis of parameters most detrimental to long-term monitoring were presented. The results revealed that, contrary to the hypothesis, polInSAR techniques did not provide an enhanced ability to monitor surface deformation compared to dInSAR techniques. Although significant improvements in coherence values were obtained, the spatial heterogeneity of phase measurements could not be improved. Consequently, polInSAR could not overcome decorrelation associated with vegetation cover and evolving land surfaces. However, polarimetric information could be used to assess the scattering behaviour of the surface, thereby guiding the definition of optimal sensor configuration for long-term monitoring.
Despite temporal and geometric decorrelation, the results presented demonstrated that mining-induced deformation could be measured and monitored using dInSAR techniques. Large areas could be monitored remotely and the areal extent of deforming areas could be assessed, effectively overcoming the limitations of field-based techniques. Consequently, guidelines for the optimal sensor configuration and image acquisition strategy for long-term operational monitoring of mining-induced surface
deformation were provided.