Scientific Investigations Map 3308
Most of the land-surface subsidence in the Houston-Galveston region, Texas, has occurred as a direct result of groundwater withdrawals for municipal supply, commercial and industrial use, and irrigation that depressured and dewatered the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers, thereby causing compaction of the aquifer sediments, mostly in the fine-grained clay and silt layers. This report, prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, City of Houston, Fort Bend Subsidence District, Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, and Brazoria County Groundwater Conservation District, is one in an annual series of reports depicting water-level altitudes and water-level changes in the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers and measured compaction of subsurface sediments in the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers in the Houston-Galveston region. The report contains maps depicting approximate 2014 water-level altitudes (represented by measurements made during December 2013–March 2014) for the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers; maps depicting 1-year (2013–14) water-level changes for each aquifer; maps depicting contoured 5-year (2009–14) water-level changes for each aquifer; maps depicting contoured long-term (1990–2014 and 1977–2014) water-level changes for the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers; a map depicting contoured long-term (2000–14) water-level changes for the Jasper aquifer; a map depicting locations of borehole-extensometer sites; and graphs depicting measured cumulative compaction of subsurface sediments at the borehole extensometers during 1973–2013. Tables listing the data used to construct each water-level map for each aquifer and the compaction graphs are included.
In 2014, water-level-altitude contours for the Chicot aquifer ranged from 200 ft below the vertical datum (National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 or the North American Vertical Datum of 1988; hereinafter, datum) in a small, localized area in southwestern Harris County to 200 ft above datum in western Montgomery County. Water-level changes for 2013–14 in the Chicot aquifer ranged from a 19-foot (ft) decline to a 31-ft rise. Contoured 5-year and long-term water-level changes in the Chicot aquifer ranged from an 80-ft decline to a 70-ft rise (2009–14), from a 120-ft decline to a 100-ft rise (1990–2014), and from a 120-ft decline to a 200-ft rise (1977–2014). In 2014, water-level-altitude contours for the Evangeline aquifer ranged from 300 ft below datum in two small, localized areas in south-central Montgomery County to 200 ft above datum in southeastern Grimes and northwestern Montgomery Counties. Water-level changes for 2013–14 in the Evangeline aquifer ranged from a 57-ft decline to a 47-ft rise. Contoured 5-year and long-term water-level changes in the Evangeline aquifer ranged from a 60-ft decline to a 100-ft rise (2009–14), from a 220-ft decline to a 240-ft rise (1990–2014), and from a 340-ft decline to a 260-ft rise (1977–2014). In 2014, water-level-altitude contours for the Jasper aquifer ranged from 250 ft below datum in south-central Montgomery County to 250 ft above datum in northwestern Montgomery County and extending into east-central Grimes and southwestern Walker Counties. Water-level changes for 2013–14 in the Jasper aquifer ranged from a 51-ft decline to a 40-ft rise. Contoured 5-year and long-term water-level changes in the Jasper aquifer ranged from a 100-ft decline to 40-ft rise (2009–14) and from a 220-ft decline to no change (2000–14).
Compaction of subsurface sediments (mostly in the fine-grained clay and silt layers) composing the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers was recorded continuously by using analog technology at the 13 borehole extensometers at 11 sites that were either activated or installed between 1973 and 1980. For the period of record beginning in 1973 (or later depending on activation or installation date) and ending in December 2013, measured cumulative compaction at the 13 extensometers ranged from 0.100 ft at the Texas City-Moses Lake extensometer to 3.654 ft at the Addicks extensometer. The rate of compaction varies from site to site because of differences in rates of groundwater withdrawal in the areas adjacent to each extensometer site and differences among sites in the ratios of clay, silt, and sand and compressibility of the subsurface sediments. Therefore, it is not appropriate to extrapolate or infer a rate of compaction for an adjacent area on the basis of the rate of compaction measured at nearby extensometers.
First posted October 8, 2014
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Kasmarek, M.C., Johnson, M.R., and Ramage, J.K., 2014, Water-level altitudes 2014 and water-level changes in the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers and compaction 1973–2013 in the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers, Houston-Galveston region, Texas: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3308, pamphlet, 16 sheets, scale 1:100,000, https://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sim3308.
ISSN 2329-1311 (print)
ISSN 2329-132X (online)
Data Collection and Analysis Methods
Water-Level Altitudes and Changes
Compaction of Subsurface Sediments in the Chicot and Evangeline Aquifers