Finite element modelling for land displacements due to pumping

Hund Der Yeh, Ruey Hsing Lu, Gour Tsyh Yeh

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24 Scopus citations


Equations of equilibrium (force balance) and flow in multidimensions were coupled in this paper to describe land displacements due to pressure decline in aquifers. A Galerkin finite element model based on these equations was developed. The saturated/unsaturated behaviour and the isotropic/anisotropic properties of permeability and elasticity were considered when the model was formulated. This model was verified by comparing its simulation results with those of known analytical solutions for simplified cases. The simulation of displacements due to pressure decline in unsaturated media was also performed. Those results demonstrated that the choice of boundary ranges for an aquifer with infinite domain may significantly affect the estimated horizontal and vertical displacements. To obtain a good estimation of land displacements, the boundary ranges should be carefully chosen. The displacements occurring in unconfined aquifers are caused by the drop of the water table and the change in body force in the dewatering zone. Simulation results also indicated that the change in body force should be considered once an unconfined aquifer has been pumped. Otherwise, the horizontal and vertical displacements in unconfined aquifers would be overestimated and underestimated, respectively. The behaviour of land displacements due to pumping was shown to be affected by changes in the total stresses in aquifers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-99
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Galerkin finite element model
  • Groundwater pumping
  • Land displacement


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