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Houston Geological Society Bulletin


Houston Geological Society Bulletin, Volume 15, No. 4, December 1972. Pages 1-1.

Abstract: Land-Surface Subsidence in the Houston-Galveston Region, Texas


Previous HitRobertTop K. Gabrysch
United States Geological Survey

In the Houston-Galveston region of Texas, the principal cause of land-surface subsidence is the lowering of pressure heads due to the removal of water and oil from subsurface strata. This paper emphasizes the effects of removal of water.

The region is underlain by a thick section of unconsolidated lenticular deposits of sand and clay. Clays separating beds of sand retard the vertical movement of water, thus creating artesian conditions within the aquifers. Reduction of pressure caused by withdrawal of water causes additional load to be transferred to the skeleton of the aquifer, thus causing compaction.

Subsidence of as much as 5 feet has occurred in the Houston-Galveston region between 1943 and 1964, and as much as 200 feet of water level decline has occurred during the same period. The rate of subsidence increased from about 0.2 foot per year during the 1954-59 period to about 0.24 foot per year during the 1959-64 period. The decline in water levels increased from about 4 feet per year to about 7 feet per year in those same two periods.

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