Natural Hazards

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 1255–1267 | Cite as

Analysis of urbanisation-induced land subsidence in Shanghai

  • Ye-Shuang Xu
  • Lei Ma
  • Yan-Jun Du
  • Shui-Long Shen
Review Article


Since 1980, land subsidence has accelerated and groundwater levels have decreased in the centre of Shanghai, although the net withdrawn volume of groundwater has not increased. Theoretical analysis of the monitored data shows that the decrease in the groundwater level is the primary reason for the observed land subsidence. Meanwhile, the net withdrawn volume of groundwater in the urban centre of Shanghai has not increased during this period. Many underground structures have been constructed in the multi-aquifer-aquitard system of Shanghai since 1980. This paper discusses the factors related to the development of land subsidence during the process of urbanisation in Shanghai during the past 30 years. These factors include additional load during and after structure construction, the cut-off and/or partial cut-off effect of underground structures in aquifers, the decrease in the groundwater level due to leakage of underground structures and the reduction in recharge of groundwater from the surroundings.


Land subsidence Groundwater withdrawal Urban construction Soft deposit Cut-off of groundwater 



The research work described herein was funded by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Grant No. 41102175 and No. 41072209). These financial supports are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Ocean EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Institute of Geotechnical Engineering, Transportation CollegeSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina

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