Subsidence monitoring with geotechnical instruments in the Mexicali Valley, Baja California, Mexico
- 1Centro de Investigacion Cientifica y Educacion Superior de Ensenada, Ensenada, Mexico
- 2UNAM Campus, Centro de Geociencias, Juriquilla, Querétaro, Mexico
- 3Instituto Mexicano de Tecnología de Agua, Jiutepec, Morelos, Mexico
Abstract. The Mexicali Valley (northwestern Mexico), situated in the southern part of the San Andreas fault system, is an area with high tectonic deformation, recent volcanism, and active seismicity. Since 1973, fluid extraction, from the 1500–3000 m depth range, at the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field (CPGF), has influenced deformation in the Mexicali Valley area, accelerating the subsidence and causing slip along the traces of tectonic faults that limit the subsidence area. Detailed field mapping done since 1989 (González et al., 1998; Glowacka et al., 2005; Suárez-Vidal et al., 2008) in the vicinity of the CPGF shows that many subsidence induced fractures, fissures, collapse features, small grabens, and fresh scarps are related to the known tectonic faults. Subsidence and fault rupture are causing damage to infrastructure, such as roads, railroad tracks, irrigation channels, and agricultural fields.
Since 1996, geotechnical instruments installed by CICESE (Centro de Investigación Ciéntifica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, B.C.) have operated in the Mexicali Valley, for continuous recording of deformation phenomena. Instruments are installed over or very close to the affected faults. To date, the network includes four crackmeters and eight tiltmeters; all instruments have sampling intervals in the 1 to 20 min range.
Instrumental records typically show continuous creep, episodic slip events related mainly to the subsidence process, and coseismic slip discontinuities (Glowacka et al., 1999, 2005, 2010; Sarychikhina et al., 2015).
The area has also been monitored by levelling surveys every few years and, since the 1990's by studies based on DInSAR data (Carnec and Fabriol, 1999; Hansen, 2001; Sarychikhina et al., 2011).
In this work we use data from levelling, DInSAR, and geotechnical instruments records to compare the subsidence caused by anthropogenic activity and/or seismicity with slip recorded by geotechnical instruments, in an attempt to obtain more information about the process of fault slip associated with subsidence.