Land subsidence in the Texas coastal bend: Locations, rates, triggers, and consequences


Land subsidence and sea level rise are well-known, ongoing problems that are negatively impacting the entire Texas coast. Although ground-based monitoring techniques using long-term global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) records provide accurate subsidence rates, they are labor intensive, expensive, time-consuming, and spatially limited. In this study, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data and techniques were used to map the locations and quantify rates of land subsidence in the Texas Coastal Bend region during the period from October 2016 to July 2019. InSAR-derived land subsidence rates were then validated and calibrated against GNSS-derived rates. The factors controlling the observed land subsidence rates and locations were investigated. The consequences of spatial variability in land subsidence rates in Coastal Bend were also examined. The results indicated that: (1) land subsidence rates in the Texas Coastal Bend exhibited spatial variability, (2) InSAR-derived land subsidence rates were consistent with GNSS-derived deformation rates, (3) land subsidence in the Texas Coastal Bend could be attributed mainly to hydrocarbon and groundwater extraction as well as vertical movements along growth faults, and (4) land subsidence increased both flood frequency and severity in the Texas Coastal Bend. Our results provide valuable information regarding not only land deformation rates in the Texas Coastal Bend region, but also the effectiveness of interferometric techniques for other coastal rural areas around the globe.



land subsidence, texas coastal bend, insar, flood, groundwater extraction, oil/gas extraction


This research was supported by the Division of Research and Innovation (Texas Comprehensive Research Funds (grant number: 141403-00020) and Research Equipment and Infrastructure Grant) and the College of Science and Engineering (Research Enhancement Funds) at Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi (awarded to M.A.).


Attribution 4.0 International


Haley, M., Ahmed, M., Gebremichael, E., Murgulet, D. and Starek, M., 2022. Land Subsidence in the Texas Coastal Bend: Locations, Rates, Triggers, and Consequences. Remote Sensing, 14(1), p.192.