Sustainable development and anthropogenic induced geomorphic hazards in subsiding areas. EUROSENSE analysed and quantified the major deformations of an industrial dike.

In many areas of the world, subsidence related to the lowering of the water table is modifying the landscape and provoking costly environmental hazards. Major deformations of an industrial dike were analysed and quantified.

EUROSENSE considered the Dead Sea (the Earth’s lowest lake) as a model. Its water level was 395m bMSL in the 1960s. Due to water diversions in the catchment area, as of 2016, the level has dropped to about 430m bMSL. Here, as in other parts of the Anthropocene world, from China, to Iran, to Turkey, to Canada and the United States, consequences of human interventions are rapidly modifying the environment. Aggressive geomorphic processes leading to accelerated degradations are taking place and affecting landforms and infrastructures.

In Tectonic terms, the lake is a pull-apart basin resulting from the motion of the Dead Sea Transform fault. Since the 1960s, a slice of brine of about 35 km3 has been lost. The water table is dropping more rapidly in the lake than in the coastal zone creating an ever-increasing head difference. Consequently, groundwater moves towards the sea to compensate for the imbalance, provoking the reactivation of the area’s paleo-channels with subsidence, sinkholes, and landslides.

Since the 1980s, industrial-touristic infrastructure has covered newly emerging lands in geomorphic hazards-prone areas of the coastal zone. Time series analysis of high to very high resolution visible/radar satellite images acquired from the 1970s to present, revealed major landscape evolution. Such dynamic systems prevailing in recent decades permitted the study of human/environment interactions to help minimize their effects.

EUROSENSE analysed and quantified major deformations of an industrial dike. The results underline the necessity in the Anthropocene of careful analysis of relevant data sources acquired before and during subsidence, particularly in karst topography zones and prior to the development of major human activities in economically appealing environments around the world.