September 2015 

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Land Subsidence and Earth Fissures in Cedar and Parowan Valleys, Southwestern Utah

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Resource details

Resource ID

468

Access

Open

Contributed by

Admin User

Volume

47

Named person(s)

Tyler Knudsen

Date

14 September 15

Number

9

Abstract

Groundwater pumping in excess of recharge has
lowered the potentiometric surface in Cedar
Valley, southwestern Utah, by as much as 114
feet since 1939 and has caused permanent
compaction of fine-grained sediments of the
Cedar Valley aquifer. Interferometric synthetic
aperture radar (InSAR) imagery shows that land
subsidence is occurring over an ~100 squaremile
area, including two pronounced subsidence
bowls in the northeastern (Enoch graben) and
southwestern (Quichapa Lake area) parts of the
valley. A lack of accurate historical benchmark
elevation data over much of the valley prevents
detailed long-term quantification of subsidence.
In response to the land subsidence, earth
fissures have formed near the margins of the
Enoch graben and near Quichapa Lake. Our
initial inventory of Cedar Valley fissures, which
relied on aerial-photography analysis, identified
3.9 miles of fissures in 2009. With newly
acquired LiDAR coverage in 2011, we more than
doubled the total length of mapped fissures to
8.3 miles.

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