Changes in the soil moisture are a key factor in the deterioration of the ecological environment caused by mining geological disasters. In this study, which presents a case study of the arid and semi-arid aeolian sand mining area along the Inner Mongolia-Shaanxi Province boundary, a method for retrieving the soil moisture based on RADARSAT-2 SAR scattering data and Terra MODIS surface reflectance data was proposed. The retrieval of RADARSAT-2 mainly used the Alpha approximation model based on the change detection technique, a model proposed by Balenzano et al., which can effectively decouple the impact of surface vegetation and roughness on radar backscattering coefficient, when the volume scattering is not dominant. Using 12 periods of RADARSAT-2 HH polarization data in conjunction with the Alpha approximation model, a matrix equation was constructed, which contains 11 equations and 12 unknowns. To solve this underdetermined system, a bounded linear least-squares optimization was adopted. Once the unknowns were determined, the relative dielectric constant could be analytically derived and then the soil moisture could be estimated by using the dielectric mixing model and compared with the MODIS retrieval results based on the spatial feature method. Finally, the DInSAR results of RADARSAT-2 were used to investigate the effects of high-intensity underground mining activities on the surface soil moisture. The study found that the RADARSAT-2 soil moisture estimates demonstrated good consistency with the MODIS retrieval results. Among four comparison groups, the maximum correlation coefficient was 0.599, and the highest proportion of sampling points for which the absolute error was less than 3 % was 55.6 %. The absolute error of all of the sampling points did not exceed 10 %, which demonstrates the reliability of the RADARSAT-2 retrieval results. A comparison among the 72 soil moisture values from six mining subsidence areas and corresponding non-subsidence areas in the study area in 2012 showed that 38 soil moisture values from the non-subsidence areas were higher than those from the subsidence areas. These values accounted for 53 % of the total, indicating that high-intensity mining activities have a certain negative impact on the surface soil moisture, although this impact is slightly insignificant.