Subsidence and settlement are both terms used to describe the sinking or lowering of the ground, but they have different causes and implications:
Below are the main Differences Between Subsidence and Settlement
Settlement: Settlement is the natural process of a building or structure sinking slightly into the ground as the soil underneath it compresses over time. Settlement is a normal part of the construction process and is usually accounted for in the design of the building’s foundation. Settlement can also occur due to changes in the moisture content of the soil, such as after a long dry spell or after heavy rainfall. Settlement is generally a slow process that occurs over a long period of time and is not usually a cause for concern.
Subsidence: Subsidence, on the other hand, is the sinking or settling of the ground due to external factors such as soil erosion, groundwater withdrawal, or underground mining. Subsidence can occur rapidly and can cause damage to buildings, roads, and other structures that sit on the affected land. Subsidence can also occur as a result of natural geological processes, such as the sinking of land after an earthquake or the collapse of an underground cavern. In general, subsidence is a more serious issue than settlement and can require extensive repairs to affected structures.
In summary, settlement is the natural sinking of a building or structure into the ground due to the compression of soil, while subsidence is the sinking or lowering of the ground due to external factors such as soil erosion, mining, or geological events. Settlement is generally a normal process that occurs slowly over time and is not usually a cause for concern, while subsidence is a more serious issue that can cause damage to structures and require extensive repairs.