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Monitoring tropical peat related settlement using ISBAS InSAR, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

Marshall, Chris; Large, David J.; Athab, Ahmed; Evers, Stephanie L.; Sowter, Andrew; Marsh, Stuart; Sjögersten, Sofie


Chris Marshall

Abbott Professor of Geoscience

Ahmed Athab

Stephanie L. Evers

Andrew Sowter

Professor of Geospatial Engineering


Rapid population growth in South-East Asia has placed immense pressure upon lowland regions both to supply food and employment and space for residential, commercial and infrastructure development. This pressure has led to sites on tropical peatland previously considered unsuitable for development to be revisited. One such site, the KLIA2 terminal and runway, Kuala Lumpur International Airport which opened in May 2014 at a cost of 3.6 billion MYR has been beset by well documented subsidence problems. Coverage of the tropics by the Sentinel-1 satellite constellation presents an opportunity to monitor the ongoing subsidence at KLIA 2, identify potential knowledge gaps and help inform more sustainable infrastructure development in tropical peatland regions. Our results show that the ISBAS InSAR method produces reproducible ground deformation maps which can clearly identify the patterns of deformation across both urban infrastructure and adjacent rural plantations and tropical peat swamp. This is particularly well defined around the terminal building at KLIA-2 where different ground preparation and foundation design have resulted in stable terminal buildings and subsidence of surrounding pavement. Deformation is greatest in the runway area where alternate bands of uplift and subsidence presumably accompany the greatest loads associated with landing aircraft. In contrast, areas where peat replacement was the primary form of ground preparation, ground motion is stable, however this comes at high economic and environmental cost.


Marshall, C., Large, D. J., Athab, A., Evers, S. L., Sowter, A., Marsh, S., & Sjögersten, S. (2018). Monitoring tropical peat related settlement using ISBAS InSAR, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Engineering Geology, 244, 57-65. doi:10.1016/j.enggeo.2018.07.015

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 17, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 19, 2018
Publication Date Oct 3, 2018
Deposit Date Sep 26, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 20, 2019
Journal Engineering Geology
Print ISSN 0013-7952
Electronic ISSN 1872-6917
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 244
Pages 57-65
Keywords Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology; Geology; InSAR; Intermittent SBAS (ISBAS); Subsidence; Kuala Lumpur Airport; Tropical peat; Settlement
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Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Monitoring tropical peat related settlement using ISBAS InSAR, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA); Journal Title: Engineering Geology; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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