News of the WeekRemote Sensing

Satellite Radar Spies City Subsidence

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Science  07 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5450, pp. 25
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5450.25a

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NAPLES, ITALY-- A team of researchers based here that has been studying movements in a volcanic area west of Naples using the European Space Agency's remote-sensing satellites ERS-1 and ERS-2 has found that a well-defined 4-square-kilometer area of Naples appears to have subsided--the first time subsidence has been detected this way in a city. The slump coincided, in both location and time, with the construction of a new underground railway line. The finding means that the same technique could be used to keep an eye on densely populated areas where human activity may be affecting the stability of surface terrain.