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Analyzing Joshimath�s sinking: causes, consequences, and future prospects with remote sensing techniques

Awasthi, S and Sahoo, S and Jain, K and Kumar, R and Goswami, A and Joshi, GC and Kulkarni, AV and Srivastava, DC (2024) Analyzing Joshimath�s sinking: causes, consequences, and future prospects with remote sensing techniques. In: Scientific Reports, 14 (1).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-60276-3


The Himalayas are highly susceptible to various natural disasters, such as the tectonically induced land deformation, earthquakes, landslides, and extreme climatic events. Recently, the Joshimath town witnessed a significantly large land subsidence activity. The phenomenon resulted in the development of large cracks in roads and in over 868 civil structures, posing a significant risk to inhabitants and infrastructure of the area. This study uses a time-series synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry-based PSInSAR approach to monitor land deformation utilizing multi-temporal Sentinel-1 datasets. The line of sight (LOS) land deformation velocity for the Joshimath region, calculated for the year 2022�2023 using a PSInSAR-based approach, varies from � 89.326 to + 94.46 mm/year. The + ve sign indicates the LOS velocity/displacement away from the SAR sensor, whereas � ve sign signifies the earth's movement towards the SAR sensor in the direction of LOS. In addition, the study investigates feature tracking land displacement analysis using multi-temporal high-resolution Planet datasets. The result of this analysis is consistent with the PSInSAR results. The study also estimated the land deformation for the periods 2016�2017, 2018�2019, and 2020�2021 separately. Our results show that the Joshimath region experienced the highest land deformation during the year 2022�2023. During this period, the maximum land subsidence was observed in the north-western part of the town. The maximum LOS land deformation velocity + 60.45 mm/year to + 94.46 mm/year (2022�2023), occurred around Singhdwar, whereas the north and central region of the Joshimath town experienced moderate to high subsidence of the order of + 10.45 mm/year to + 60.45 mm/year (2022�2023), whereas the south-west part experienced an expansion of the order of 84.65 mm/year to � 13.13 mm/year (2022�2023). Towards the south-east, the town experienced rapid land subsidence, � 13.13 mm/year to � 5 mm/year (2022�2023). The study analyzes the causative factors of the observed land deformation in the region. Furthermore, this work assesses the ground conditions of the Joshimath region using UAV datasets acquired in the most critically affected areas such as Singhdhaar, Hotel Mountain View, Malhari Hotel, and Manoharbagh. Finally, the study provides recommendations and future prospects for the development policies that need to be adopted in the critical Himalayan regions susceptible to land deformation. The study suggests that land deformation in the region is primarily attributed to uncontrolled anthropogenic activities, infrastructural development, along with inadequate drainage systems. © The Author(s) 2024.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Scientific Reports
Publisher: Nature Research
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Authors.
Keywords: article; controlled study; earthquake; Himalaya; human; interferometry; landslide; mountain; natural disaster; remote sensing; time series analysis
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2024 09:25
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2024 09:25
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/85096

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