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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Simon Mathias

Jayeoba, Ayodeji, Mathias, Simon A., Nielsen, Stefan, Vilarrasa, Victor & Bjørnarå, Tore I. (2019). Closed-form equation for subsidence due to fluid production from a cylindrical confined aquifer. Journal of Hydrology 573: 964-969.

Author(s) from Durham


Ground surface subsidence due to groundwater production is a significant problem. Many attempts have been made to develop analytical models to forecast subsidence rates as a consequence of groundwater production. Previous analytical solutions either make limiting assumptions about the stress regime (e.g., radially symmetric with uniaxial strain or radially symmetric with zero incremental vertical total stress) or assume that the pressure distribution within the aquifer is uniform. Imposing assumptions about the stress regime lead to an overestimate of subsidence. Imposing a uniform pressure assumption often leads to an underestimate of subsidence. In this article, the principle of superposition is applied to extend a previous analytical solution, for a cylindrical uniform pressure change, to allow for a non-uniform pressure distribution resulting from constant rate production of a viscous fluid from a cylindrical confined aquifer of finite permeability. Results from the analytical solution are verified by comparison with a set of fully coupled hydro-mechanical finite element simulations. The analytical solution for subsidence directly above the production well (or uplift above an injection well) can be written in closed-form and is straightforward to evaluate. The equation also shows that, for many practical purposes, ground surface subsidence is insensitive to production fluid viscosity and aquifer permeability when the aquifer radius is less than the aquifer depth below the ground surface.