Project III: RawMATCop III: Earth’s Critical Zone Early Warning System (CZ-EWS) by integrating SAR and seismic data in a mining context (Minas Riotinto, SW Iberia), hosted and carried out under the auspices of Institute of Geosciences (IGEO), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) with support from the companies, DARES (remote sensing) and Atalaya Mining (site owner).

Researcher: Dr. Ignacio Marzán

Supervisor: Dr. José Fernández Torres, Institute of Geosciences (IGEO), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)


No doubt mining activities strongly impact the Earth’s Critical Zone (CZ), the near surface environment where rock meets life. As a consequence, public perception of the mining industry is usually negative. Our project aims to improve mining viability/security by guaranteeing ground/underground CZ integrity. Our strategy approaches the target from two sides, from above with satellite data, and from below with seismic data. Our main outcome will be a CZ Early Warning System (CZ-EWS) protocol affordable for the mining industry, combining satellite and geophysical monitoring techniques. The pilot site is located in Minas de Riotinto; characterizing and monitoring this site is of special interest for the long registry of mining activities as well as for SAR data availability, since 1992 (ERS-1). Apart from the PostDoc fellow, the team is formed of three CSIC specialists (in remote sensing, seismic and mining ) and two companies: DARES (SAR software developers) and Atalaya Mining (host site).

The objectives of the project are:

Overall objective: To reduce the hazards of mining activities affecting the soil/subsoil mechanical integrity developing a monitoring system that combines SAR and passive seismic data.

Specific objective 1: To correlate ground deformation and historical mining events in Riotinto mine

Specific objective 2: To evaluate resolution of Sentinel-1 vs commercial satellites at mining scale

Specific objective 3: To elaborate a 3D velocity model for Riotinto mine

Specific objective 4: To identified instability zones around Riotinto mine

Specific objective 5: To design a low cost monitoring program for mining activities integrating passive seismic and SAR

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