Modelling ground rupture due to groundwater withdrawal: applications to test cases in China and Mexico

Other literature type English OPEN
Franceschini, A. ; Teatini, P. ; Janna, C. ; Ferronato, M. ; Gambolati, G. ; Ye, S. ; Carreón-Freyre, D. (2015)

The stress variation induced by aquifer overdraft in sedimentary basins with shallow bedrock may cause rupture in the form of pre-existing fault activation or earth fissure generation. The process is causing major detrimental effects on a many areas in China and Mexico. Ruptures yield discontinuity in both displacement and stress field that classic continuous finite element (FE) models cannot address. Interface finite elements (IE), typically used in contact mechanics, may be of great help and are implemented herein to simulate the fault geomechanical behaviour. Two main approaches, i.e. Penalty and Lagrangian, are developed to enforce the contact condition on the element interface. The incorporation of IE incorporation into a three-dimensional (3-D) FE geomechanical simulator shows that the Lagrangian approach is numerically more robust and stable than the Penalty, thus providing more reliable solutions. Furthermore, the use of a Newton-Raphson scheme to deal with the non-linear elasto-plastic fault behaviour allows for quadratic convergence. The FE – IE model is applied to investigate the likely ground rupture in realistic 3-D geologic settings. The case studies are representative of the City of Wuxi in the Jiangsu Province (China), and of the City of Queretaro, Mexico, where significant land subsidence has been accompanied by the generation of several earth fissures jeopardizing the stability and integrity of the overland structures and infrastructure.
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