November Meeting

Thursday, November 16th, 2017
Speaker: Patrick J. Barosh
Topic: SEA LEVEL RISE, SUBSIDENCE AND FLOODING IN THE HOUSTON-GALVESTON REGION
Abstract:

The recent catastrophic flooding from hurricane Harvey in the Houston-Galveston region is largely man-made. The stalled storm produced a record-breaking amount of rain whose runoff was impeded by unbridled development across a low coastal region of widespread subsidence. The natural modest relative sea level rise of about 0.6 ft/century is augmented by subsidence caused by pumping of oil and water that has lowered the land surface up to 11 feet in the past 100 years. That due to oil extraction has ended, but that from water wells has followed the development of the region. An entire up-scale community has submerged and the San Jacinto battlefield is slipping beneath the water. Faulting associated with the subsidence continues to damage buildings as well as movement along regional gravity, salt dome, and tectonic faults. Over 350 faults have been identified across the metropolitan region. Each succeeding hurricane tends to flood more area and will continue to do so, despite the numerous excellent studies, until the regions reluctance to mitigate the problem is overcome.

Monthly E-News Links