Production-Induced Subsidence at the Los Humeros Geothermal Field Inferred from PS-InSAR

Eszter Bekési, Peter A. Fokker, Joana E. Martins, Jon Limberger, Damien Bonté, Jan-Diederik van Wees

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Surface deformation due to fluid extraction can be detected by satellite-based geodetic sensors, providing important insights on subsurface geomechanical properties. In this study, we use Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (DInSAR) observations to measure ground deformation due to fluid extraction at the Los Humeros Geothermal Field (Puebla, Mexico). Our main goal is to reveal the pressure distribution in the reservoir and to identify reservoir compartmentalization, which can be important aspects for optimizing the production of the field. The result of the PS-InSAR (Persistent Scatterer by Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry) analysis shows that the subsidence at the LHGF was up to 8 mm/year between April 2003 and March 2007, which is small relative to the produced volume of 5×106 m3/year. The subsidence pattern indicates that the geothermal field is controlled by sealing faults separating the reservoir into several blocks. To assess if this is the case, we relate surface movements with volume changes in the reservoir through analytical solutions for different types of nuclei of strain. We constrain our models with the movements of the PS points as target observations. Our models imply small volume changes in the reservoir, and the different nuclei of strain solutions differ only slightly. These findings suggest that the pressure within the reservoir is well supported and that reservoir recharge is taking place.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2306092
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Geothermal
  • subsidence
  • InSAR
  • volcano caldera

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