Monitoring and modeling tailings impoundment settlement near Great Salt Lake (UTAH) using multi-platform time-series InSAR observations

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Center for Data Sciences


Tailings impoundment failures may lead to catastrophically fatal, environmental and financial consequences. However, field investigation and geotechnical analysis are limited by sparse instrumentation and high cost. Here we use time-series Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) method to map out the settlement over the entire tailings impoundment area in the vicinity of Great Salt Lake (Utah) using multiple SAR data. We show that the south pond is experiencing quasi-linear settlements with the largest rate of 200+ mm/yr at the northeast corner. InSAR observations can be well-explained by geotechnical consolidation model, which reveals and predicts the gradually decelerated settlement process. InSAR-derived displacement maps also highlight active motions of surrounding infrastructures, such as some highway segments. Nevertheless, there is no clear evidence that the fluctuating deformation at those locations and seasonal varied water level are correlated.

Publisher's Statement

Copyright 2017 IEEE. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1109/IGARSS.2017.8126888

Publication Title

2017 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium