Characteristics of land subsidence, earth fissures and related disaster chain effects with respect to urban hazards in Xi’an, China

Original Article

Abstract

The ancient capital of Xi’an is a typical city in China with a shortage of water resources. With an urban population of 7 million, its domestic and industrial use of water depends almost entirely on groundwater. Large-scale long-term extraction of groundwater has caused severe land subsidence and triggered the reactivation of active normal faults in the Quaternary under-consolidated sediments underlying the city. This has further led to ground ruptures that have gradually evolved into earth fissure zones. During this process, there has been a close spatiotemporal relationship between land subsidence and the formation of earth fissures. From field monitoring data, the subsidence bowls are typically located in loess depressions between earth fissure zones within structural blocks of sediment cut by active Quaternary faults and preexisting fault planes. The subsidence bowls are generally elliptical in shape, with the long axes consistent with the preferred orientation of the earth fissures. The underlying Quaternary active faults and preexisting fault planes predispose the intervening sediment blocks to formation of earth fissures, and intense groundwater extraction has led to accelerated subsidence and earth fissuring during the past 50 years. Mining groundwater, land subsidence and earth fissures occur in a sequence and constitute a disaster chain with respect to urban hazards in Xi’an. Thus, it is important to understand the relationships between these events. This paper summarizes the characteristics of land subsidence and earth fissures in Xi’an and discusses the chain of relationships that connects them.

Keywords

Land subsidence Earth fissure Groundwater extraction Disaster chain Xi’an City 

References

  1. Adiyaman IB (2012) Land subsidence and earth fissures due to groundwater pumping. Dissertation, University of ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  2. Bankher KA, Al-Harthi AA (1999) Earth fissuring and land subsidence in western Saudi Arabia. Nat Hazards 20:21–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouwer H (1977) Land subsidence and cracking due to ground water depletion. Ground Water 15:358–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Budhu M, Shelke A (2008) The formation of earth fissures due to groundwater decline. In: Proceedings of the 12th international conference of international association for computer methods and advances in geomechanics (IACMAG), pp 3051–3059Google Scholar
  5. Burbey TJ (2010) Mechanisms for earth fissure formation in heavily pumped basins. Land subsidence, associated hazards and the role of natural resources development. In: Proceedings of EISOLS 2010, Quere´taro. IAHS Publ., 339Google Scholar
  6. Carpenter MC (1993) Earth-fissure movements associated with fluctuations in ground-water levels near the Picacho Mountains, South-Central Arizona, 1980–84: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 497-HGoogle Scholar
  7. China Geological Survey (2015) Survey report of China land subsidence and earth fissures, Beijing (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  8. El Baruni SS (1994) Earth fissures caused by groundwater withdrawal in Sarir South agricultural project area, Libya. Appl Hydrogeol 2:45–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fletcher JE, Karl H, Peterson HB, Chler VN (1954) Piping Eos Transactions American Geophysical Union 35:258–263Google Scholar
  10. Galloway D, Jones DR, Ingebritsen SE (1999) Land subsidence in the United States. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1182Google Scholar
  11. Helm DC (1994) Hydraulic forces that play a role in generating fissures at depth. Bull Assoc Eng Geol 31(3):293–304Google Scholar
  12. Hernandez-Marin M (2009) Numerical evaluation and analysis of the occurrence of earth fissures in faulted sedimentary basins. Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  13. Holzer TL (1976) Ground failure in areas of subsidence due to ground-water decline in the United States. In: Proceedings of the second international symposium on land subsidence. IAHS Publ., vol 212, pp 423–433Google Scholar
  14. Holzer TL, Pampeyan EH (1981) Earth fissures and localized differential subsidence. Water Resour Res 17:223–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Holzer TL, Davis SN, Lofgren BE (1979) Faulting caused by groundwater extraction in southcentral Arizona. J Geophys Res 84:603–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hyndman D, Hyndman D (2014) Natural hazards and disasters. Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  17. Jachens RC, Holzer TL (1982) Differential compaction mechanism for earth fissures near Casa Grande, Arizona. Geol Soc Am Bull 93:998–1012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kontogianni V, Pytharouli S, Stiros S (2007) Ground subsidence, Quaternary faults and vulnerability of utilities and transportation networks in Thessaly, Greece. Environ Geol 52:1085–1095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lee C, Zhang J, Zhang Y (1996) Evolution and origin of the ground fissures in Xian, China. Eng Geol 43:45–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leonard RJ (1929) An earth fissure in southern arizona. J Geol 37(8):765–774Google Scholar
  21. Li Y, Yang J, Hu X (2000) Origin of ground fissures in the Shanxi Graben system, Northern China. Eng Geol 55:267–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liu G (1986) The ground fissures in Xi’an. J Xi’an Coll Geosci 4:9–22 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  23. Pacheco-Martínez J, Hernandez-Marín M, Burbey TJ, González-Cervantes N, Ortíz-Lozano JÁ, Zermeño-De-Leon ME, Solís-Pinto A (2013) Land subsidence and ground failure associated to groundwater exploitation in the Aguascalientes Valley, México. Eng Geol 164:172–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Peng J (2012) Geohazards of Xi’an ground fissures. Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  25. Peng J, Du D, Su S, Zhang J (1992) the relationship between the active fault and geological disasters-take Wei River basin as example. In: Proceedings of the 4th national conference of engineering geology. Ocean Press, Beijing, pp 158–165 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  26. Peng J, Fan W, Xi’an L, Wang Q, Feng X, Zhang J, Li X, Lu Q, Huang Q, Ma R (2007) Some key questions in the formation of ground fissures in the Fen-Wei Basin. J Eng Geol 15:433–440 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  27. Peng J, Chen L, Huang Q, Men Y, Fan W, Yan J (2013) Physical simulation of ground fissures triggered by underground fault activity. Eng Geol 155:19–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Raspini F, Loupasakis C, Rozos D, Moretti S (2013) Advanced interpretation of land subsidence by validating multi-interferometric SAR data: the case study of the Anthemountas basin (Northern Greece). Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 13:2425–2440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rothenburg L, Obah A, El Baruni S (1995) Horizontal ground movements due to water abstraction and formation of earth fissures. In: Proceedings of the fifth international symposium on land subsidence, Hague. IAHS Publ., 234Google Scholar
  30. Schumann HH, Poland JF (1969) Land subsidence, earth fissures, and groundwater withdrawal in south-central Arizona, USA. In: Proceedings of Tokyo symposium on land subsidence, IASH-UNESCO, pp 295–302Google Scholar
  31. Sheng Z (1996) Conceptual and numerical models for the mechanics of fissuring caused by groundwater withdrawal. University of Nevada, Reno. Dissertation, University of NevadaGoogle Scholar
  32. Wang J (2000) Study the theory and its application of ground fissure and hazard. Shanxi Scientific Press, Xi’an (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  33. Wang L (2004) Epigenetic time-dependent structure and human engineering. Geological Press, Beijing (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  34. Wu Q, Chen P (2002) The problem and countermeasure of ground fracture in city. Chin J Geol Hazard Control 13:70–72 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  35. Xue Y, Zhang Y (2016) Land subsidence and land fissures in the southern Yangtze River Delta. Resour Surv Environ 37:1–9 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  36. Zhang J (1990) Research on ground fissures in the region of Xi’an. Northwest University Press, Xi’an (in Chinese) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological Engineering, School of Geological Engineering and GeomaticsChang’an UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Western China’s Mineral Resources and Geological EngineeringEducation Ministry of ChinaXi’anChina
  3. 3.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringChang’an UniversityXi’anChina
  4. 4.School of Civil EngineeringGuilin University of TechnologyGuilinChina

Personalised recommendations