, Volume 26, Issue 14, pp 4225-4239,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Sep 2012

Groundwater Overexploitation Causing Land Subsidence: Hazard Risk Assessment Using Field Observation and Spatial Modelling


Hazard risk assessment of land subsidence is a complicated issue aiming at identifying areas with potentially high environmental hazard due to land subsidence. The methods of hazard risk assessment of land subsidence were reviewed and a new systematic approach was proposed in this study. Quantitative identification of land subsidence is important to the hazard risk assessment. Field observations using extensometers were used to determine assessment indexes and estimate weights of each index. Spatial modelling was also established in ArcGIS to better visualize the assessment data. These approaches then were applied to the Chengnan region, China as a case study. Three factors, thickness of the second confined aquifer, thickness of the soft clay and the annual recovery rate of groundwater level were incorporated into the hazard risk assessment index system. The weights of each index are 0.33, 0.17 and 0.5 respectively. The zonation map shows that the high, medium and low risk ranked areas for land subsidence account for 9.5 %, 44.7 % and 45.8 % of the total area respectively. The annual recovery rate of groundwater level is the major factor raising land subsidence hazard risk in approximately half of the study area.