CATHALAC: Satellite-aided analysis of land subsidence

The affected area in Mixco, Guatemala
Picture: Courtesy of SERVIR

UN-SPIDER’s Regional Support Office CATHALAC prepared a preliminary analysis of the effects of land subsidence in Mixco, Guatemala using space-based information. The analysis was prepared in the context of SERVIR and with the collaboration of Guatemala’s Ministry of the Environment (MARN), the National Protected Areas Council (CONAP), and UN-SPIDER.

In summarizing the analysis, it is noted that overlaying the map of the area’s hydro-geology allows one to see that the communities affected are located not only above an aquifer, but also near a system of geological faults, both of which may be contributing to the land subsidence. Additionally, the preliminary analysis shows that the urbanized area above the aquifer has been rapidly expanding at a rate of approximately 28% per year, from approx. 84 hectares in 1986 to approx. 680 hectares in 2011.