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The origin and impact of the Shizhuang ground fissure, Yingxian area, Datong Basin, China

Wang, Feiyong, Peng, Jianbing, Meng, Zhenjiang, Qiao, Jianwei, Wen, Haiguang, Ma, Penghui, Liu, Yang, Jia, Zhijie, Zhao, Junyan
Engineering geology 2019
agricultural land, basins, disaster preparedness, drilling, engineering, geophysics, groundwater, groundwater extraction, residential housing, roads, surveys, tectonics, trenching, China
The Datong Basin is part of the regionally extensive Fenwei Graben System, a major tectonic zone impacted by active tectonics and the resulting damage to life and infrastructure. The basin also contains the Shizhuang ground fissure system. In this study, the likely origin, surface extent, and fissure subsurface characteristics are explored by traditional methods: surveying, mapping, trenching, drilling, and seismic exploration. The Shizhuang ground fissure is located at the intersection of the Xiaoshikou fault and the southern Liuleng margin fault in Yingxian County. It has a length of 2.1 km, excellent continuity, and semi-elliptical surface morphology. The dislocation of strata induced by the fissure increases significantly as the depth increases. The strata bend downward and form typical traction structures near the fissure plane, indicating that the fissure has prominent synsedimentary fault characteristics. The fissure causes serious damage to houses, farmlands, roads, and public facilities, featuring large tensile cracks and vertical dislocations. The resulting data and interpretations indicate that: (1) the ground fissures connect to two major subsurface active faults, which lay the tectonic foundation for the fissure; (2) accelerated groundwater extraction has reactivated the underlying faults and exacerbated fissure development; and (3) mitigation is best achieved by cessation of excessive groundwater pumping, appropriate engineering design, and local avoidance for placement of critical structures. This paper provides a heretofore generally unknown example, promotes research on the mechanisms of fissures, and has guiding significance for disaster prevention and reduction in this area.