Title page for ETD etd-05312002-222410

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Pope, Jason Philip
Author's Email Address jpope@usgs.gov
URN etd-05312002-222410
Title Characterization and modeling of land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawals from the confined aquifers of the Virginia Coastal Plain
Degree Master of Science
Department Geological Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Burbey, Thomas J. Committee Chair
Harlow, George E. Jr. Committee Member
Schreiber, Madeline E. Committee Member
  • land subsidence
  • groundwater withdrawals
  • compaction
Date of Defense 2002-05-16
Availability restricted
Measurement and analysis of aquifer-system compaction have been used to

characterize aquifer and confining unit properties when other techniques such as flow

modeling have been ineffective at adequately quantifying storage properties or matching

historical water levels in environments experiencing land subsidence. In the southeastern

Coastal Plain of Virginia, high-sensitivity borehole pipe extensometers were used to

measure 24.2 mm of total compaction at Franklin from 1979 to 1995 (an average of 1.5

mm/yr) and 50.2 mm of total compaction at Suffolk from 1982 to 1995 (an average of 3.7

mm/yr). Analysis of the extensometer data reveals that the small rates of aquifer-system

compaction appear to be correlated with withdrawals of water from confined aquifers.

One-dimensional vertical compaction modeling indicates that the measured compaction

is the result of nonrecoverable hydrodynamic consolidation of the fine-grained confining

units and interbeds as well as recoverable compaction and expansion of coarse-grained

aquifer units. The modeling results also provide useful information about specific storage

and vertical hydraulic conductivity of individual hydrogeologic units. The results of this

study enhance the understanding of the complex Coastal Plain aquifer system and will be

useful in future modeling and management of ground water in this region.

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