Investigating the Effect of Land Subsidence Due to Groundwater Discharges on Well Casing Damage

Document Type : Research Paper


1 MSc. in Rock Mechanics

2 Assistance Professor, Department of Mining, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman

3 The Late Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman


Subsidence is a geologically hazardous phenomenon that can be aggravated by human such activities as long term water, oil, and gas extraction from underground resources or other mining activities. Abstractions from aquifers cause the aquifer-maintaining forces to lose their state of equilibrium whereby land starts to settle and ultimately subsides. One of the consequences of exploiting groundwater is the rising of well casings. Actually, it is not the well casings that rise but the ground around them that subsides. Subsiding forces can damage well casings and this can foist repair costs, or the wells might even need to be replaced by new ones. In this paper ,finite element methods in two and three dimensional modes as well as ABAQUS software were used to investigate the impacts of subsidence from groundwater exploitation and drawdown on well casings. This investigation was based on data obtained from a real basin. The results obtained through geomechanical simulations using ABAQUS software have shown that the mechanism by which subsidence "bowls" are created cause two forms of rupture in the casings. At the edges of the bowl, surface sediments might slide on soft clay toward the center of the well and cause the casings to bend along their way. Around the center of the bowl something different happens. Considerable compaction of soft clay over time causes the distance between the surface and the bottom of the well to decrease, which results in the buckling of the casings and, in some cases, causes the casings to stick out of the ground.


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