Project 641 - Deformation and fissuring caused by exploitation of subsurface fluids

Brief outline of the project

Ground ruptures (earth fissures and reactivation of pre-existing surface faults) caused by extraction of fluids from the subsurface have been observed in hundreds of sedimentary basins worldwide, mainly in USA and in semiarid areas of developing countries such as Mexico, China, India, Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia. Unexpected fissure generation and fault activation associated with anthropogenic land subsidence strongly impact on the development of urban settlements, industrial centers, agricultural and other economic activities. In this project we propose a scientific cooperative program between institutions and researchers to improve the understanding of the processes involved in ground rupturing. M3EF3 plans to use an integrated approach made by in-situ Monitoring of surface deformation, remote sensing techniques, hydro-Mechanical laboratory characterization, and mathematical Modeling (M3). The significant amount of geological and hydrogeological information already available in Mexico, California, and China will be used initially. Then, the approach will be transferred to sites in other developing countries. M3 will be used to produce an effective tool to manage the geological risk associated with earth fissuring and reactivation of surface faults. Recommendations will be released for urban development and the sustainable exploitation of subsurface fluid resources considering faulting and earth fissuring as constraints, especially in developing countries.

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