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March 2024 Bulletin

Land Subsidence in the Texas Coastal Bend: Locations, Rates, Triggers, and Consequences by Michael Haley1, Mohamed Ahmed1,*, Esayas Gebremichael2, Dorina Murgulet1 and Michael Starek31 Center for Water Supply Studies, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, USA2 Department of Geological Sciences, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76109, USA3 Department of Computing Sciences, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, USA  AbstractLand subsidence and sea level rise are well-known, ongoing problems that are negatively impacting the entire Texas coast. Although ground-based monitoring techniques using long-term global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) records provide accurate subsidence rates, they are labor intensive, expensive, time-consuming, and spatially limited. In this study, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data and techniques were used to map the locations and quantify rates of land subsidence in the Texas Coastal Bend region during the period from October 2016 to July 2019. InSAR-derived land subsidence rates were then validated and calibrated against GNSS-derived rates. The factors controlling the observed land subsidence rates and locations were investigated. The consequences of spatial variability in land subsidence rates in Coastal Bend were also examined. The results indicated that: (1) land subsidence rates in the Texas Coastal Bend exhibited spatial variability, (2) InSAR-derived land subsidence rates were consistent with GNSS-derived deformation rates, (3) land subsidence in the Texas Coastal Bend could be attributed mainly to hydrocarbon and groundwater extraction as well as vertical movements along growth faults, and (4) land subsidence increased both flood frequency and severity in the Texas Coastal Bend. Our results provide valuable information regarding not only land deformation rates in the Texas Coastal Bend region, but also the effectiveness of interferometric techniques for other coastal rural areas around the globe.

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