Factors determining subsidence in urbanized floodplains: Evidence from MT-InSAR in Seville (southern Spain)

Ana Ruiz-Constán, Antonio M. Ruiz-Armenteros, Jesús Galindo-Zaldívar, Francisco Lamas-Fernández, Joaquim João Sousa, Carlos Sanz de Galdeano, Antonio Pedrera-Parias, Sergio Martos-Rosillo, Miguel Caro Cuenca, J. Manuel Delgado, Ramon F. Hanssen, Antonio J. Gil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Major rivers have traditionally been linked with important human settlements throughout history. The growth of cities over recent river deposits makes necessary the use of multidisciplinary approaches to characterize the evolution of drainage networks in urbanized areas. Since under-consolidated fluvial sediments are especially sensitive to compaction, their spatial distribution, thickness, and mechanical behavior must be studied. Here, we report on subsidence in the city of Seville (Southern Spain) between 2003 and 2010, through the analysis of the results obtained with the Multi-Temporal InSAR (MT-InSAR) technique. In addition, the temporal evolution of the subsidence is correlated with the rainfall, the river water column and the piezometric level. Finally, we characterize the geotechnical parameters of the fluvial sediments and calculate the theoretical settlement in the most representative sectors. Deformation maps clearly indicate that the spatial extent of subsidence is controlled by the distribution of under-consolidated fine-grained fluvial sediments at heights comprised in the range of river level variation. This is clearly evident at the western margin of the river and the surroundings of its tributaries, and differs from rainfall results as consequence of the anthropic regulation of the river. On the other hand, this influence is not detected at the eastern margin due to the shallow presence of coarse-grain consolidated sediments of different terrace levels. The derived results prove valuable for implementing urban planning strategies, and the InSAR technique can therefore be considered as a complementary tool to help unravel the subsidence tendency of cities located over under-consolidated fluvial deposits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2484–2497
Number of pages14
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Fluvial system
  • Historic town
  • InSAR
  • Subsidence
  • SW Spain

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