Land subsidence in Beijing and its relationship with geological faults revealed by Sentinel-1 InSAR observations

Publication type

Journal Article

Research Area



Beijing, the capital city of China, has been affected by land subsidence due to intensive groundwater extraction since 1935. Recent studies reported that the maximum subsidence occurred in the east of Beijing, reaching more than 11 cm/year till 2017. To investigate the subsidence (2015˜2017) in Beijing, in this paper, time series interferometric synthetic aperture radar (TS-InSAR) analysis was performed with 22 Sentinel-1 Terrain Observation by Progressive Scans (TOPS) mode SAR data. Results show that wide areas in the east of Beijing are subsiding with a maximum rate of 14 cm/year, which is consistent with GPS data. Detailed analysis of the obtained subsidence map reveals the existence of several characteristic near-linear boundaries within the subsiding areas. As a result of our previous three-year project, we generated the exact location, direction, and late Quaternary activity of the main potential active faults in the Beijing area. The relationship between the trace of these existing geological faults and the mentioned subsidence boundaries was investigated in detail. It is suggested that land subsidence in Beijing was mainly caused by the over-extraction of groundwater, with its spatial pattern being controlled by geological faults.

Publication Details


International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation



Date Published



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