Subsidence is a general term for downward vertical movement of the Earth's surface, which can be caused by both natural processes and human activities. Subsidence involves little or no horizontal movement,[1][2] which distinguishes it from slope movement.[3]

Subsided house, called The Crooked House, the result of 19th-century mining subsidence in Staffordshire, England
Mam Tor road destroyed by subsidence and shear, near Castleton, Derbyshire

Processes that lead to subsidence include dissolution of underlying carbonate rock by groundwater; gradual compaction of sediments; withdrawal of fluid lava from beneath a solidified crust of rock; mining; pumping of subsurface fluids, such as groundwater or petroleum; or warping of the Earth's crust by tectonic forces. Subsidence resulting from tectonic deformation of the crust is known as tectonic subsidence[1] and can create accommodation for sediments to accumulate and eventually lithify into sedimentary rock.[2]

Ground subsidence is of global concern to geologists, geotechnical engineers, surveyors, engineers, urban planners, landowners, and the public in general.[4] Pumping of groundwater or petroleum has led to subsidence of as much as 9 meters (30 ft) in many locations around the world and incurring costs measured in hundreds of millions of US dollars.[5]

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