Pumping of groundwater spurs surge in earth fissures

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Pumping of groundwater spurs surge in earth fissures

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jun 5, 2007 10:20 am

By Tony Davis
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 06.05.2007

The number of earth fissures spreading across Southern and Central Arizona due to excessive water pumping is approaching 300, a top state geologist said Monday.

The Arizona State Geological Survey's office released maps showing that earth fissures are proving an increased safety risk to homeowners, as development expands into areas where fissures date back to the 1940s or '50s and in some cases to the 1920s.

Authorities have warned for decades that continued land subsidence from groundwater pumping can open up huge fissures. The warnings have increased in intensity in recent years as more homes are built atop old fissures, particularly in rapidly growing Pinal County between Tucson and Phoenix.

So far, Arizonans are lucky that fissures haven't swallowed any homes, said Lee Allison, the survey's director and state geologist. But when a fissure opened up overnight in a Queen Creek area neighborhood two summers ago, it could have caused a home to collapse if it had opened directly under the home, he said.

<a href="http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/186137">Full story with related video</a>
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