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Last updated: February 12, 2017

What Does Subsidence Mean?

Subsidence is a downward movement in the Earth’s surface that may result from natural geology or artificial disturbance. Subsidence can cause damage to structures, roads and other infrastructure and can be caused by the dissolution of subsurface limestone, mining or natural gas extraction activities, earthquakes and geological faulting, the extraction of ground water, seasonal effects and isostatic subsidence.

Safeopedia Explains Subsidence

Subsidence is a problem around the world, but it has had a major impact in the United States where approximately 17,000 square miles are subject to this phenomenon. In the US, the primary cause of subsidence is the extraction of ground water. The EPA is aware of the problem and is using subsidence control wells for underground injection control (UIC) interventions aimed at reducing the incidence of subsidence caused by ground water removal and certain other factors.


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