Environmental Geomechanics

Pietro Teatini, pietro.teatini@unipd.it
Massimiliano Ferronato, massimiliano.ferronato@unipd.it
Carlo Janna, carlo.janna@unipd.it
Annamaria Mazzia, annamaria.mazzia@unipd.it
Claudia Zoccarato, claudia.zoccarato@unipd.it
Matteo Frigo, matteo.frigo.3@phd.unipd.it
Laura Gazzola, laura.gazzola.1@studenti.unipd.it

Research areas:

Geomechanics, i.e. the research field aimed at understanding the interaction between rocks, soils and the subsurface fluids, plays a main role in a large number of processes affecting the environment, the population, and their resilience. Indeed, the change of soil stress / strain and fluid pressure fields caused by anthropogenic activities, such as groundwater withdrawal and CH4/CO2 injection from or into geologic formations, loading of the Earth surface by structures, mining and land reclamation, or natural processes, e.g. sediment deposition and shallow compaction, yields major environmental consequences. Among them, we can include land subsidence and uplift, ground ruptures in subsiding basins, fault reactivation, induced seismicity, delta advancement, and tidal marsh aggradation. The research activities of the Environmental Geomechanics group at Department ICEA are aimed at understanding the physical mechanisms governing these processes and disentangling their peculiarities; monitoring their occurrence through borehole, land surface, and remote sensing (e.g. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) surveys; characterizing the hydro-geo-mechanical properties and the related uncertainty of the stratigraphic units involved; carrying out in-situ and lab experiments; developing appropriate state-of-the-art simulators and procedures for direct and inverse (e.g., Data Assimilation) modelling calibration; and quantifying the future occurrence in relation to anthropogenic and natural stressors, such as aquifer overexploitation, management of subsurface reservoir to store fluids and energy (H2, compressed air), decrease of sediment availability due to river damming, and sea level rise due to climate changes.

Keywords: Land Subsidence & Uplift, Ground Ruptures, Fault Reactivation, Induced Seismicity, Natural Compaction & Evolution of Transitional Environments