Research Project

The Use of InSAR Data to Monitor the Hydrologic Response of a Confined Aquifer in the San Luis Valley, Colorado

The Place

The San Luis Valley (SLV) is an 8000 km2 valley, located on the northern side of the Colorado-New Mexico border.

The Problem

The San Luis valley has a vibrant agricultural economy that is highly dependent on the effective management of the limited water resources. The Rio Grand Decision Support System (RGDSS), a Colorado-state-funded project includes a hydrogeologic database and a MODFLOW finite-difference groundwater flow model. The critical challenge for the RGDSS, is acquiring sufficient data to characterize the spatially heterogeneous, time-varying behavior of the groundwater system.

Our Approach

Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) has emerged as a remote sensing method that can provide data to help constrain large-scale hydrogeologic models. The question we ask: How can we use InSAR data to model the response of the aquifer system?

Great Sand Dunes National Park in the foreground; Sangre De Cristo Mountains in the distance. Photo provided by Andrew Valdez.

Results to Date

Verified that high quality InSAR deformation measurements can be made in agricultural areas like the San Luis Valley (Reeves et al., 2011).

Identified similar seasonal trends in hydraulic head measurements and InSAR deformation measurements in the San Luis Valley (Reeves et al., 2011).

Estimated the uncertainty in the InSAR deformation measurements and propagated this uncertainty through the data processing chain.

Adapted a time-series processing algorithm such that high quality data are selected based upon the uncertainty of the final deformation time-series.

Current Work

Using the relationship between InSAR measured deformation data and hydraulic head data we are investigating ways that the deformation data can be used to interpolate and extrapolate hydraulic head measurements in time and space.

Project Lead/Contact

Jessica Reeves, Rosemary Knight, Howard Zebker

Project Collaborators

Willem A. Schreüder, Principia Mathematica
Piyush Shanker Agram, Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University
Tom Rune Lauknes, Northern Research Institute Tromsø Norway

Project Publications and Presentations

Project Sponsors

Schlumberger Water Services
Nelson Award, Stanford Department of Geophysics
NASA Terrestrial Hydrology Program (grant number NNX12AP59G)