That Sinking Feeling

That Sinking Feeling

The densely populated Gauteng province in South Africa is particularly susceptible to sinkholes that threaten homes and infrastructure. Trying to identify precursors involves surveying vast areas of land that is impractical by conventional methods.

In a pilot study of this area for Gautrain and the University of Pretoria, precursors to known sinkhole events were identified by InSAR analysis of the entire Gauteng area, suggesting that the majority of sinkholes occurences could be foreseen by these techniques. 


  • Predicting sinkhole events across large areas is impractical with conventional surveying techniques.

  • Precursors to known sinkhole events in the Gauteng province were identified by InSAR analysis.

  • The majority of sinkhole events in the Gauteng province could be foreseen by ongoing InSAR monitoring.

InSAR can also be used to assess susceptibility to other geohazards. Read this case study to see how we applied the same methodology to landslide risk.