U. Scott Clanton2
(1) Consultant, Kerriville, TX
Abstract: Living with a fault
The surface of the Houston, Texas metropolitan area is offset by at least 160 faults with an aggregate length of some 25 miles. Most faults are sufficiently active to have caused moderate to severe damage to thousands of man-made structures built on or near them. Many have a rate of movement that has averaged 0.25 to 1.0 inches over a 20 year period. Yet developers continue to build structures over known faults. Some developers require that a “NOTICE TO PURCHASERS” release be signed by the new owner when the property is sold. One such disclosure hints at the faulting problem, almost dismisses it, and then assures the new owner that because “ . . . a foundation with increased strength was provided, the major danger to improvements from the existence of the fault has been overcome." Some structures may survive for a period of time with little or no damage. However, the collective experience of owners who live in houses constructed on an active fault provides a grim forecast for the future.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana