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Remote monitoring of minewater rebound and environmental risk using satellite radar interferometry

Gee, David; Sowter, Andrew; Athab, Ahmed; Grebby, Stephen; Wu, Zhenming; Boiko, Kateryna


David Gee

Andrew Sowter

Ahmed Athab

Zhenming Wu

Kateryna Boiko


The cessation of dewatering following coalfield abandonment results in the rise of minewater, which can create significant changes in the local and regional hydrogeological regime. Monitoring such change is challenging but essential to avoiding detrimental consequences such as groundwater contamination and surface flooding. Inverse modelling methods using satellite radar interferometry (InSAR) have proven capable for retrospectively mapping minewater level changes, however, there is a need for the capability to remotely monitor changes as they occur. In this study, ground deformation measurements obtained from InSAR are used to develop a method to remotely monitor the spatio-temporal rise of minewater, which could be implemented in near real-time. The approach is demonstrated over the Horlivka mining agglomeration, Ukraine, where there is no other feasible approach possible due to a lack of safe ground access. The results were blindly validated against in-situ measurements before being used to forecast the time until minewater will reach the natural water table and Earth's surface. The findings reveal that, as a result of military conflict in Donbas, an environmental catastrophe could occur where potentially radioactive minewater is forecast to reach the natural water table between May and August of 2024.


Gee, D., Sowter, A., Athab, A., Grebby, S., Wu, Z., & Boiko, K. (2023). Remote monitoring of minewater rebound and environmental risk using satellite radar interferometry. Science of the Total Environment, 857, Article 159272.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 7, 2022
Publication Date Jan 20, 2023
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 8, 2023
Journal Science of the Total Environment
Print ISSN 0048-9697
Electronic ISSN 1879-1026
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 857
Article Number 159272
Keywords Minewater rebound, Modelling, Hydrogeology, Surface deformation, InSAR, Coal mining
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Remote monitoring of minewater rebound and environmental risk using satellite radar interferometry; Journal Title: Science of The Total Environment; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2022 Published by Elsevier B.V.