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Ground displacements due to changes in soil conditions represent a threat to the stability of civil structures in many urban areas, worldwide. In fast-subsiding areas, regional subsidence (wavelength ~ 1,000’s m) can be dominantly high and, consequently, mask other signals at local scales (wavelength ~ 10–100’s m). Still, engineering and construction applications require a comprehensive knowledge of local-scale signals, which can threaten the stability of buildings and infrastructure. Here we present a new technique based on band-pass filters for uncovering local-scale signals hidden by regional subsidence as detected by interferometric SAR measurements. We apply our technique to a velocity field calculated from 21 high-resolution COSMO-SkyMed scenes acquired over Mexico City and obtain components of long (> 478 m), intermediate (42–478 m) and short (< 42 m) spatial wavelengths. Our results reveal that long-wavelength velocities exceed − 400 mm/year, whereas intermediate- and short-wavelength velocities are in the order of ± 15 mm/year. We show that intermediate-wavelength velocities are useful for retrieving signals such as uplift along elevated viaducts of Metro lines 4 and B, as well as differential displacements in Pantitlán station’s pedestrian overpass system and across sharp geotechnical boundaries in the piedmont of Sierra de Santa Catarina—where surface faulting occurs.

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