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

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

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    41 Citations (Scopus)


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-65
    Number of pages9
    JournalEngineering Geology
    Early online date19 Jul 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2018


    • InSAR
    • Intermittent SBAS (ISBAS)
    • Subsidence
    • Kuala Lumpur Airport
    • Tropical peat
    • Settlement


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