Articles | Volume 372
12 Nov 2015
 | 12 Nov 2015

Spatio-temporal evolution of aseismic ground deformation in the Mexicali Valley (Baja California, Mexico) from 1993 to 2010, using differential SAR interferometry

O. Sarychikhina and E. Glowacka

Abstract. Ground deformation in Mexicali Valley, Baja California, Mexico, the southern part of the Mexicali-Imperial valley, is influenced by active tectonics and human activity, mainly that of geothermal fluid extraction in the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field. Significant ground deformation, mainly subsidence (~ 18 cm yr−1), and related ground fissures cause severe damage to local infrastructure.

The technique of Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (DInSAR) has been demonstrated to be a very effective remote sensing tool for accurately measuring the spatial and temporal evolution of ground displacements over broad areas. In present study ERS-1/2 SAR and ENVISAT ASAR images acquired between 1993 and 2010 were used to perform a historical analysis of aseismic ground deformation in Mexicali Valley, in an attempt to evaluate its spatio-temporal evolution and improve the understanding of its dynamic. For this purpose, the conventional 2-pass DInSAR was used to generate interferograms which were used in stacking procedure to produce maps of annual aseismic ground deformation rates for different periods. Differential interferograms that included strong co-seismic deformation signals were not included in the stacking and analysis.

The changes in the ground deformation pattern and rate were identified. The main changes occur between 2000 and 2005 and include increasing deformation rate in the recharge zone and decreasing deformation rate in the western part of the CPGF production zone. We suggested that these changes are mainly caused by production development in the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field.