Articles | Volume 13, issue 4
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 923–933, 2013

Special issue: New developments and applications in early warning, monitoring...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 923–933, 2013

Research article 17 Apr 2013

Research article | 17 Apr 2013

Interferometric SAR monitoring of the Vallcebre landslide (Spain) using corner reflectors

M. Crosetto1, J. A. Gili2, O. Monserrat1, M. Cuevas-González1, J. Corominas2, and D. Serral2 M. Crosetto et al.
  • 1Institute of Geomatics, Parc Mediterrani de la Tecnologia, Av. Gauss 11, 08860, Castelldefels, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences, Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), C/ Jordi Girona 1–3, D-2 Building, 08034, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. This paper describes the deformation monitoring of the Vallcebre landslide (Eastern Pyrenees, Spain) using the Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (DInSAR) technique and corner reflectors (CRs). The fundamental aspects of this satellite-based deformation monitoring technique are described to provide the key elements needed to fully understand and correctly interpret its results. Several technical and logistic aspects related to the use of CRs are addressed including an analysis of the suitability of DInSAR data to monitor a specific landslide, a discussion on the choice of the type of CRs, suggestions for the installation of CRs and a description of the design of a CR network. This is followed by the description of the DInSAR data analysis procedure required to derive deformation estimates starting from the main observables of the procedure, i.e., the interferometric phases. The main observation equation is analysed, discussing the role of each phase component. A detailed discussion is devoted to the phase unwrapping problem, which has a direct impact on the deformation monitoring capability. Finally, the performance of CRs for monitoring ground displacements has been tested in the Vallcebre landslide (Eastern Pyrenees, Spain). Two different periods, which provide interesting results to monitor over time the kinematics of different parts of the considered landslide unit, are analysed and described.