Using GPS to Monitor Subsidence and Faults in the Greater Houston Area



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The Greater Houston area has been experiencing ground deformation for nearly 100 years due to subsidence and faults. The results of this subsiding and faulting has caused damages to commercial, residential, industrial buildings and public infrastructure. These damages are generally overlooked until an extensive area is affected and significant collateral risks have been induced. Since the 1990s GPS technology has become the primary tool for monitoring subsidence in the Greater Houston area. This technology was implemented by the collaboration of National Geodetic Survey (NGS) and Harris-Galveston Subsidence (HGSD.)Beginning in 1975 the Texas Legislature created HGSD, which is divided into Area1, Area 2 and Area 3. Fort Bend Subsidence District (FBSD) in 1989 which is divided into Area A and Area B. Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) in 2001, and Brazoria County Groundwater Conservation District (BCGCD) in 2005. In cooperation which one another University of Houston (UH), FBSD,LSGCD, BCGCD, and other local institutes, HGSD has accumulated about 250 permanent GPS stations within the Greater Houston Region into its regular subsidence monitoring.Precise monitoring of ground deformation over a long period of time is essential to managing ongoing geological hazard as it relevant to plans for the future development of urban areas.