Overview of ground fissure research in China

  • Ken W. F. Howard
  • Wanfang ZhouEmail author
Original Article


Ground fissures in China have garnered increasing international attention in recent years due to their areal extensiveness, large scale, and high hazard potential. These fissures, especially those in the Fen-Wei Basin and North China Plain, severely restrict planning and construction in big cities, threaten the operation of underground and above ground railways, and cause serious economic loss. Recent research shows that ground fissures in China occur mainly in sedimentary basins and develop along active faults and at the edges of groundwater cones of depression. Most of these fissures are caused by the combined action of tectonic stress and hydrodynamic force. Effective ground fissure disaster reduction technologies are developed and they include pumping control, reasonable avoidance, adaption to deformation, and local strengthening. This paper provides an overview on ground fissure studies in China and demonstrates how research results can serve economic development and geohazard mitigation.


Ground fissure Geological hazard Distribution pattern Formation mechanism Prevention measures 



The authors are grateful to Dr. James W. LaMoreaux for his insights in preparing the manuscript and encouragement for submission to Environmental Earth Sciences for publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.ZeoEnvironmentalKnoxvilleUSA

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