Geomechanics of Subsidence Due to Pumping of Groundwater

by Chiang C. Mei, Massachusetts Inst Technology, Cambridge, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Mechanics


In this talk we describe a nonlinear theory for the classical problem of pumping of groundwater from a layered soil. The model soil system consists of three horizontal layers where a very soft and highly impervious aquitard is sandwiched by two hard and highly porous aquifers. Water is pumped from the bottom aquifer through a vertical well. This problem is usually solved in hydrology by assuming constant total stress in the soil, and that the drawdown can be calculated in advance of the soil stress. By a perturbation theory and the use of Lagrangian coordinates, these common assumptions are shown to be poor if the aquitard is very soft or thick. Specifically the drawdown should be nonlinearly coupled to the soil deformation and that the total stress is not quite uniform in depth. By a model constitutive law representative of clays, hysteretic subsidence is studied for a variety of cyclic pumping or recharging.

Subject Headings: Pumps | Land subsidence | Geomechanics | Groundwater depletion | Soil stress | Nonlinear analysis | Layered soils | Drawdown (hydrology)

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