Large differential land subsidence and earth fissures in Jiangyin, China
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Jiangyin County is in the infamous Su–Xi–Chang land subsidence area caused by excessive groundwater withdrawal in Jiangsu province, China. The maximum accumulated land subsidence reached 1,310 mm near the centre of the subsiding trough in 2006 in southern Jiangyin, and earth fissures of significant vertical offsets have been observed at Changjing, Hetang and Wenlin which form an arc towards the subsidence trough. An ancient Yangtze River course is found underlying and passing through the depression in southern Jiangyin, forming a local basin surrounded by outcropped bedrock ridges in the north and south. The Quaternary stratigraphy demonstrates significant heterogeneities in the basin; the second confined aquifer is much thicker and deeper and encapsulated inside the basin and absent above the ridges. The development of earth fissures along the Changjing–Hetang–Wenlin arc might be a combination of an inward rotation of sediments due to a large differential subsidence, an inward movement driven by seepage force and a steeper slope along the south-eastern shoulder of the basin that facilitates the development of horizontal tensile strain and/or shear strain necessary for fissuring. The land subsidence has slowed down and no new earth fissure zone has occurred in the area after the banning of deep groundwater extraction was enacted in 2001.
KeywordsDifferential land subsidence Earth fissure Groundwater depletion Jiangyin Su–Xi–Chang area
The study is supported by the cooperative fund—Geological Investigation and Monitoring of Jiangsu Province Environmental Ecosystem (Grant No. 200312300009)—between the Ministry of China National Land Resources and Jiangsu Provincial Government in the sub-project of “Visualized Three Dimensional Geological Modeling of Land Subsidence in Su–Xi–Chang Area”. The authors sincerely thank Geological Survey of Jiangsu Province for their support and Talia Barrett of University of Ballarat for proof reading the manuscript.
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