Effects on ground water caused by excavation of rock store caverns

Ingemar Larsson*, Akiva Flexer, Bengt Rosen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unlined rock caverns for oil storage are very common in Sweden. Most of them are excavated in hard rocks (compact, non-carbonate, non-volcanic rocks). The fundamental idea of underground oil storage is that the rock caverns are located below the natural ground water level. Hereby the ground water keeps the oil inside the caverns and prevents products migration. During the excavating period the water seeping through the fractures of a cavern is pumped up to avoid flooding. This discharge causes a local drop in the ground-water level around the cavern and a cone of depression develops. A local study of the development of such a cone of depression has been made by means of a network of observation holes around the cavern. On enlargement of an oil storage (by constructing new caverns close to the old ones), the cone of depression moves according to the progress of the new excavations. This process has been studied and described in two cases. Underground storages in Sweden are very often closely spaced in order to use common facilities such as entrance tunnel, pumping station, housing etc. Therefore an artificial ground-water divide sometimes must be arranged between different caverns in order to prevent products migration. This paper describes how such an artificial recharge of water between some caverns is made. The control of its effectiveness is shown as well as the method for sealing off undesirable leakage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-294
Number of pages16
JournalEngineering Geology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1977


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