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International Journal of Geophysics
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 942834, 11 pages
Research Article

Is There Deep-Seated Subsidence in the Houston-Galveston Area?

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, National Center for Airborne LiDAR Mapping, 312 Science & Research Building 1, Room 312, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5007, USA

Received 3 February 2014; Accepted 4 June 2014; Published 2 July 2014

Academic Editor: Yun-tai Chen

Copyright © 2014 Jiangbo Yu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Long-term continuous groundwater level and land subsidence monitoring in the Houston-Galveston area indicates that, during the past two decades (1993–2012), the groundwater head has been increasing and the overall land subsidence rate has been decreasing. Assuming that the hydraulic head in the aquifer will reach or exceed the preconsolidation level in the near future, will subsidence in the Houston-Galveston area eventually cease? The key to answer this question is to identify if there is deep-seated subsidence in this area. This study investigated the recent subsidence observed at different depths in the Houston-Galveston area. The subsidence was recorded by using 13 borehole extensometers and 76 GPS antennas. Four of the GPS antennas are mounted on the deep-anchored inner pipes of borehole extensometers. We conclude that recent subsidence (1993–2012) in the Houston-Galveston area was dominated by the compaction of sediments within 600 m below the land surface. Depending on the location of specific sites, the compaction occurred within the Chicot aquifer and part or all of the Evangeline aquifer. No measurable compaction was observed within the Jasper aquifer or within deeper strata. Deep-seated subsidence is not likely occurring in the Houston-Galveston area.