Potential for stabilization
A comment by Kerstan
I found the paper interesting. Although I live outside the Las Vegas area I have had the opportunity to drive through the area several times in the last couple of years. While I do not find the fact the Las Vegas (LV) basin is subsiding, I am curious as to whether or not a degree of predictable subsidence in the overall LV area is possible. My curiosity is based the belief that the subsidence would not necessarily continue unabated forever as long as groundwater pumping within the LV basin were to continue. Could stability eventually result over time. My hypothesis could best be described as "amateurist" but here it is anyway. After a period of time the over-burden mass represented by the partially compressed LV basin fill plus human structures could become partially supported by the un-compressed fill layers below. In other words, at some point would the mass of the overlying layers that are now freely compressing (due to groundwater withdrawal) be supported by the underlying layers even though the underlying layers represented "open" soil pore voids. The individual grains could support some undetermined weight of overburden without significant compression and resulting subsidence. The amount of support would be cumulative and when the amount of support exceeded the weight of the overlying layers plus the human structures than the degree of support provided by the individual grains would be sufficient to support the LV basin as a whole or at least differentially. If this condition is possible than it would stay static until additional weight were added or some other change were to disrupt the static condition. If such a condition is possible could it be calculated based on the soil pore elasticity and grain strength coefficients and thus could the maximum extent of subsidence be predicted. Lastly, if such a static condition is possible, would not a seismic even trigger a catasrophic collapse of the individual voids between the grains until a new level of stability were reached.