Earth Fissuring and Land Subsidence in Western Saudi Arabia
Authors: Bankher, K.A.; Al-Harthi, A.A.
Source: Natural Hazards, Volume 20, Number 1, July 1999 , pp. 21-42(22)
Abstract:The present investigation deals with the engineering geological evaluation of earth fissuring associated with land subsidence in Wadi Al-Yutamah. The investigations include surface mapping and sampling, in situ and laboratory soil testing, water well inventory, geophysical survey, and monitoring of open fissures and the level of the wadi floor.
The earth fissures in the area developed as a result of land subsidence due to man-induced water level declines caused by pumping water from the wadi aquifer above a safe yield. This situation has produced a compaction of underlying unconsolidated sediments and formed hair fissures above ridges and steps of buried surface bedrock. These hair fissures enlarged later after flood erosion and possible enhancement with hydrocompaction.
The wadi soil in the study area consists mainly of silt of low plasticity, low density and high void ratio and it was classified as loess like material and collapsing soil. The settlement in the area is greatly increased by excessive wetting under constant pressures. The calculated coefficients of subsidence (collapse) show that the wadi soils were considered to pose moderate problems when wetted.
Monitoring of the existing open earth fissures using extensometers indicates that the width of the fissure increases after flooding or rain falls. Monitoring of the ground level using GPS techniques, shows a good relation between the declination of the water table and the subsidence of the ground of the wadi floor.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: Faculty of Earth Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 1744, Jeddah 21441, Saudi Arabia
Publication date: July 1, 1999