Monitoring subsidence due to groundwater pumping in central Arabia


Project Description

Excessive pumping and use of groundwater aquifers in the Middle East is a seriousproblem, leading to aquifer depletion, permanent compaction and shortage of usablewater. One effective way of monitoring the aquifer usage is satellite radar mapping of cm-levelsubsidence due to groundwater pressure decrease in the aquifer systems. In thisproject, we plan to use such satellite radar observations of areas in central Arabia to mapout the extent and magnitude of ongoing subsidence. The results will provide an overviewof the problem of groundwater overuse and may help the authorities to take the necessaryactions.​​​​
Program - Earth Science and Engineering
Division - Physical Sciences and Engineering
Field of Study - ​Earth Science, Environmental science and engineering

About the

Sigurjón Jónsson

Professor, Earth Science and Engineering

Sigurjón Jónsson
In his research, Professor Jónsson uses satellite geodesy and surface imaging to study areas threatened by major earthquakes or volcanic activity. Geophysical processes taking place at several kilometers below the earth's surface, such as earthquake fault slip or magma accumulation, result in deformation of the surface that can be measured using geodetic methods. Results of such measurements, along with geophysical modeling, provide vital information about what is going on deep below the surface and help assessing the associated hazards.

Desired Project Deliverables

The student(s) will learn how to process satellite radar data using Linux/shell based program routines. Theywill also need to learn how to work with the outcome (e.g. in Matlab), display the results, and to providequantitative assessment of the level of subsidence and extent of the groundwater over use problem. Theresults should be summarized in a short report at the end of the internship.