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Risk of Subsidence due to Evaporite Solution. A European Prediction and Management Scheme



1- To determine the controlling processes of land subsidence arising from solution of gypsum and other evaporite rocks.

2- To devise management techniques for preventing land subsidence in areas underlain by evaporites.

3- To develop risk assessment and zonation criteria to be used in mapping hazardous areas.

While assessment schemes for other causes of land subsidence exist, no such scheme has been developed for subsidence due to dissolution of evaporites (most usually gypsum). This is unfortunate, since subsidence due to evaporite dissolution is very widespread in Europe. Risk assessments for this hazard can only be undertaken if there is a scientific, process-based, understanding of the principal factors controlling the phenomenon. Predictions of the response of a given system to future conditions (which differ markedly from those presently observed) can only be made with any confidence where the physics of the system is understood. With these principles in mind, ROSES will provide a framework for the collation of results of previous field studies, and for the collection of supplementary field and laboratory evidence on evaporite dissolution processes. These data will be analysed using innovative conceptual and mathematical modelling techniques, to deduce the controlling processes for void growth and collapse in evaporite terrains. Once the key processes governing subsidence risk have been identified, it will be necessary to formulate technical responses for the most common hazards. These responses will be identified in ROSES, drawing upon established geotechnical practices in other subsidence-prone terrains (eg limestone karst, mined land etc), adapting them as necessary for the particular physical (eg rock strength) and chemical (eg salinity of waters) circumstances to be expected in evaporite terrains. Experience with other types of subsidence suggests that there will be considerable local variation in the degree of subsidence risk within areas underlain by evaporites. It is therefore desirable to be able to delineate zones with different levels of risk to provide a basis for land-use planning and technical intervention. ROSES will thus provide the mapping methodology for the delineation of such zones. We will disseminate the results of ROSES to relevant industrial practitioners (planners, engineers etc) in the form of a practical manual describing the use of the new methodologies.

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NE1 7RU Newcastle upon tyne
United Kingdom

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Participants (4)