Monitoring of critical infrastructures by micro-motion estimation: the Mosul dam destabilization

Filippo Biondi, Pia Addabbo, Carmine Clemente, Silvia Liberata Ullo, Danilo Orlando

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In this paper, authors propose a new procedure to provide a tool for monitoring critical infrastructures. Particularly, through the analysis of COSMO-SkyMed satellite data, a detailed and updated survey is provided, for monitoring the accelerating destabilization process of the Mosul dam, that represents the largest hydraulic facility of Iraq and is located on the Tigris river. The destructive potential of the wave that would be generated, in the event of the dam destruction, could have serious consequences. If the concern for human lives comes first, the concern for cultural heritage protection is not negligible, since several archaeological sites are located around the Mosul dam. The proposed procedure is an in-depth modal assessment based on the micro-motion estimation, through a Doppler sub-apertures tracking and a Multi-Chromatic Analysis (MCA). The method is based initially on the Persistent Scatterers Interferometry (PSI) that is also discussed for completeness and validation. The modal analysis has detected the presence of several areas of resonance that could mean the presence of cracks, and the results have shown that the dam is still in a strong destabilization. Moreover, the dam appears to be divided into two parts: the northern part is accelerating rapidly while the southern part is decelerating and a main crack in this north-south junction is found. The estimated velocities through the PS-InSAR technique show a good agreement with the GNSS in-situ measurements, resulting in a very high correlation coefficient and showing how the proposed procedure works efficiently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6337-6351
Number of pages15
Journal IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing
Early online date14 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2020


  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
  • doppler subapertures
  • multi-chromatic analysis
  • micro-motion estimation
  • modal analysis
  • persistent scatterers interferometry


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