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Land Subsidence in California

Land subsidence is a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth's surface due to subsurface movement of earth materials. The main cause of subsidence in California is groundwater pumping. The effects of subsidence include damage to buildings and infrastructure, increased flood risk in low-lying areas, and lasting damage to groundwater aquifers and aquatic ecosystems.

Publications

Documentation for the Skeletal Storage, Compaction, and Subsidence (CSUB) Package of MODFLOW 6

This report describes the skeletal storage, compaction and subsidence (CSUB) package of MODFLOW 6. The CSUB package simulates the vertical compaction of compressible sediments and land subsidence. The package simulates groundwater storage changes and elastic compaction in coarse-grained aquifer sediments. The CSUB package also simulates groundwater storage changes and elastic and inelastic compact

Detection and measurement of land-surface deformation, Pajaro Valley, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, California, 2015–18

Land-surface deformation (subsidence) caused by groundwater withdrawal is identified as an undesirable result in the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency’s Basin Management Plan and California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. In Pajaro Valley, groundwater provides nearly 90 percent of the total water supply. To aid the development of sustainable groundwater management criteria, the U.S.

Mitigating land subsidence in the Coachella Valley, California, USA: An emerging success story

Groundwater has been a major source of agricultural, municipal, and domestic water supply since the early 1920s in the Coachella Valley, California, USA. Land subsidence, resulting from aquifer-system compaction and groundwater-level declines, has been a concern of the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) since the mid-1990s. As a result, the CVWD has implemented several projects to address grou

Science

California Drought

The USGS closely monitors the effects of drought through data collection and research. USGS science supports water managers in preparing for possible future drought by providing information that takes into account long-term hydrologic, climatic, and environmental changes. These studies support successful planning and science-based decision-making by water managers who must address complex issues...
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California Drought

The USGS closely monitors the effects of drought through data collection and research. USGS science supports water managers in preparing for possible future drought by providing information that takes into account long-term hydrologic, climatic, and environmental changes. These studies support successful planning and science-based decision-making by water managers who must address complex issues...
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Continuous Global Positioning System (CGPS) Stations

Measurements of elevations, aquifer-system compaction, and water levels are used to improve our understanding of the processes responsible for land-surface elevation changes. Elevation or elevation-change measurements are fundamental to monitoring land subsidence, and have been measured by using continuous GPS (CGPS) measurements and campaign global positioning system (GPS) surveying.
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Continuous Global Positioning System (CGPS) Stations

Measurements of elevations, aquifer-system compaction, and water levels are used to improve our understanding of the processes responsible for land-surface elevation changes. Elevation or elevation-change measurements are fundamental to monitoring land subsidence, and have been measured by using continuous GPS (CGPS) measurements and campaign global positioning system (GPS) surveying.
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Spirit Leveling

Elevation or elevation-change measurements are fundamental to monitoring land subsidence, and have been measured by using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), continuous GPS (CGPS) measurements, campaign global positioning system (GPS) surveying, and spirit-leveling surveying. The most precise measurements tend to be made using spirit-leveling surveys and extensometers. Spirit...
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Spirit Leveling

Elevation or elevation-change measurements are fundamental to monitoring land subsidence, and have been measured by using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), continuous GPS (CGPS) measurements, campaign global positioning system (GPS) surveying, and spirit-leveling surveying. The most precise measurements tend to be made using spirit-leveling surveys and extensometers. Spirit...
Learn More