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Investigating Salt Domes in Harris County, Texas, Using GIS and Remote Sensing Techniques
The Gulf Coast salt domes are a major source of oil and gas. The diapirism of the salt domes can be attributed to regional extension and sedimentation. Monitoring the topographical changes directly above salt domes can give insight to subsurface movements of the salt. Geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing techniques are used to investigate surface movements above salt domes in Harris County, Texas. Data collected by light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and global positioning system (GPS) allow detection of surface changes on a centimeter to millimeter scale. Preliminary statistical analysis of digital elevation models (DEM) over a span of 12 years (1996, 2001, and 2008) showed increased surface changes over some salt dome locations. GPS studies show most of Harris County is subsiding. Areas that are not subsiding are mostly over known salt dome locations. Gravity surveys are planed over these areas to examine the salt body under these areas. Using LiDAR, GPS, and gravity may be a cheaper and faster alternative to seismic.
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