Conditions for Land Subsidence and Ground Failure in Lacustrine Sediments, the Case of West Chapala Basin.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Martin Hernandez-MARIN, Jesus Pacheco, Jose Angel Ortiz-Lozano, Alejandro Ramirez-Cortes and Gerardo Araiza, AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF AGUASCALIENTES, AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico
Surface deformation in the form of land subsidence and ground failure in the Chapala Basin has caused serious damage to structures, mostly homes. In this work, the conditions for the occurrence of deformation particularly regarding the physical and mechanical properties of the soil are discussed. In 2012 a maximum land subsidence of 7.16 cm in a short period of 8 months was recorded with maximum velocities of deformation close to 0.89 centimeters per month. Natural conditions of the zone of study include a lacustrine low land with the perennial Chapala Lake, surrounded by ranges formed by volcanic extrusive rocks, mostly basalts and andesites. Two soil cores of 11 meters depth show the predominance of fine soil but with the incrustation of several sandy lenses of volcanic ash. In the first core closer to the piedmont, the volcanic ash presents an accumulated thickness close to three meters, starting at 4.5 meters depth; on the contrary, this thickness in the second core closer to the lake is critically reduced to no more than 50 centimeters. Even though the predominance of fine soil is significant, water-content averages 100 % and the liquid limit is low, suggesting amongst other possibilities, low content of clay or at least low content of smectites or allophanes in the clayey portion. Other properties of the soil are being determined for analyses. The occurrence of three alignments of ground failures in the community of Jocotepec at the west, mostly faults, suggests highly heterogeneous subsoil. The high volumes of groundwater withdrawn from the local aquifers mainly for agriculture are directly contributing to the increase of the effective stress and surface deformation, however, the relationship between level descents and surficial deformation is still not clear.