Master of Science (MS)


Geology and Geophysics

Document Type



East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, is situated on at least two faults, the Baton Rouge Fault and the Denham Springs-Scotlandville Fault. These faults have surface expressions in the form of escarpments and damage to man-made structures. The purpose of this thesis is to study these faults in the shallow subsurface, in climate and soils found in Louisiana, and to study their ability to block fluid flow and whether groundwater withdrawal influences the amount and rate of subsidence along these faults. Techniques used to gather field data or to research and compile previously acquired data for this thesis includes: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), measuring displacement using a laser level, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), geodetic leveling, and hydrogeology. Both faults were determined not to be a single plane, but rather a complex zone of parallel and antithetic faults that are observed over an approximate width of 23 m. Two to three inches of vertical movement has occurred along the fault zone since 1960. GPR data was able to image the shallow normal faulting. However, GPR data did not extend deep enough to determine if they are growth faults. The LIDAR data and geodetic leveling data shows vertical elevations higher on the northern fault blocks versus the southern fault blocks, and elevations near the Scotlandville fault (Site 2) were higher than near the Baton Rouge fault (Site 1). There is a gradual decline in water levels with time for all main aquifers around Site 1. There is a gradual decline in water levels up to the 1940’s/50’s then a drastic decline up to 1960’s/70’s then again gradual up to the present time around Site 2. Both sites are affected by their proximity to the industrial area. Site 2, which is the closest, is drastically affected. Site 1, which is farther away, is less affected. Groundwater elevations north of the Scotlandville fault are higher than south of the fault, whereas water elevations north of the Baton Rouge fault are lower than south of the fault due to heavy usage of groundwater in the industrial area which lies in between the two faults.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Nunn