Interpretation of increased deformation rate in aquifer IV due to groundwater pumping in Shanghai

S.-L. Shen, L. Ma, Y.-S. Xu, Zhenyu Yin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


Shanghai is a typical example of a region in China suffering from severe land subsidence. Previous investigations have shown that land subsidence is strongly related to groundwater pumping in both the temporal and spatial domains. A series of field investigations shows that the deformation rate of aquifer IV (AqIV) has increased, contributing significantly to the total subsidence in Shanghai. To predict the deformation behavior of AqIV in Shanghai due to groundwater pumping, four different models have been applied in this study: (i) a model based on groundwater flow theory, (ii) an elastic model based on Cauchy mechanics, (iii) a creep model incorporated into Cauchy mechanics, and (iv) a recently proposed land subsidence model by Budhu based on Cosserat mechanics. Based on a number of assumptions, Budhu's concept was extended to consider the time-dependent behavior of groundwater potential in aquifers and the consolidation behavior of overburdened aquitards. The calculated results of AqIV's deformation were compared with the field-measured data. The results show that when using groundwater flow theory and Cauchy mechanics, it is difficult to predict the increased deformation rate of the sandy layers in aquifers even when the creep behavior is incorporated into the calculation. However, Budhu's method based on Cosserat mechanics can predict this increased deformation rate well. The predicted result indicates that increased deformation of aquifer IV is due to volumetric contraction caused by shear stress rather than the creep of aquifer sand. The phenomenon of deformation delay in aquifers can also be interpreted with the proposed model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1142
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquifer IV deformation
  • Groundwater pumping
  • Hydraulic gradient
  • Shear stress
  • Volumetric contraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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