Land-Surface Subsidence in the Texas Coastal Region




Ratzlaff KW

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Land-surface subsidence has been mapped in the Houston-Galveston area and is known to have occurred in other areas within the Texas coastal region. Most of the subsidence has been caused by both the withdrawal of groundwater and by the production of oil, gas, and associated groundwater. Land-surface subsidence was determined by comparing adjusted elevations of bench marks for various periods of releveling and by comparing topographic maps of the same areas for different years. In general, most of the Texas coastal region has subsided less than 0.5 foot. The largest amount measured in the region is in the Pasadena-Houston Ship Channel area, where the land surface subsided between 8.5 and 9.0 feet during 1906-73. The cause of the subsidence in this area was groundwater withdrawals. Local subsidence caused by sulfur mining in the Moss Bluff Salt Dome area has been reported to exceed 15 feet. In Jefferson County, the Spindletop Dome area subsided approximately 5 feet during 1925-77, and the Port Acres area subsided about 3 feet during 1959-77, mainly because of withdrawal of oil or gas and associated groundwater. Local subsidence caused by sulfur mining in the Spindletop Dome area has been estimated to exceed 10 feet. In southeastern Jackson County and northwestern Matagorda County, the land surface subsided more than 1.5 feet during 1943-73 as a result of groundwater withdrawals. Withdrawals of oil, gas, and associated groundwater caused more than 5 feet of subsidence during 1942-75 in the western part of Corpus Christi in Nueces County. (USGS)




Aquifers, Compaction, Groundwater, Houston-Galveston area, Land subsidence, Mining, Oil reservoirs, Overdraft, Subsidence, SW 0840 Groundwater, SW 2040 Groundwater management, Texas, TX, Water levels, Withdrawal