Numerical modeling of land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal in Aguascalientes Valley using regional coefficients of deformation determined by InSAR analysis.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Jesus Pacheco1, Enrique Cabral2, Shimon Wdowinski3, Martin Hernandez-MARIN1, José Ángel Ortíz1, Dario E Solano Rojas3 and Talib Oliver-Cabrera3, (1)AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF AGUASCALIENTES, AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico, (2)Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Departamento de Geomagnetismo y Exploración, Mexico D.F., Mexico, (3)University of Miami, Marine Geology and Geophysics, Miami, FL, United States
Land subsidence due to groundwater over-exploitation is a deformation process affecting many cities around the world. This type of subsidence develops gradual vertical deformations reaching only a few centimeters per year, but can affect large areas. Consequently, inhabitants of subsiding areas are not aware of the process until others effects are observed, such as ground surface faulting, damage to building, or changes in the natural superficial drain.

In order to mitigate and forecast subsidence consequences, it is useful to conduct numerical modeling of the subsidence process. Modeling the subsidence includes the following three basic tasks: a) Delimitation of the shape of the deforming body; b) Determination of the forces that are causing the deformations; and c) Determination of the mechanical properties of the deforming body according with an accepted rheological model. In the case of a land subsidence process, the deforming body is the aquifer system that is being drained. Usually, stratigraphic information from pumping wells, and other geophysical data are used to define the boundaries and shape of the aquifer system. The deformation governing forces, or stresses, can be calculated using the theory of "effective stress". Mechanical properties are usually determined with laboratory testing of samples from shallow strata, because the determination of these properties in samples from the deepest strata is economically or technically unviable. Consequently, the results of the numerical modeling do not necessarily match the observed subsidence evolution and ground faulting.

We present in this work numerical simulation results of the land subsiding of the Valley of Aguascalientes, Mexico. Two analyses for the same subsiding area are presented. In the first of them, we used the mechanical properties of only the shallow strata, whereas in the second analysis we used “macroscopic" mechanical properties data determined for the whole aquifer system using InSAR observations, using in this way, the entire stratigraphy that is contributing to the surface deformation measured by InSAR. A discussion of the results of both analyses, as well as preliminary conclusions are presented.