9-Causes of Settlement of Foundation

Causes of Settlement of Foundation

When the soil beneath the structure shows a reduction in strength to bear the load above it, the structure will start to sink. This sinking is called settlement of the structure. Following are the causes of foundation settlement:

  1. Structural collapse of soil
  2. Mining subsidence
  3. Underground erosion
  4. Change in the vicinity
  5. Thermal change
  6. Landslides
  7. Frost heave
  8. Creep
  9. Vibration and Shocks

Structural collapse of soil

Structural collapse of some soil, such as saline, non-cohesive soils, gypsum, silt and clay and loess, may occur due to the dissolution of the material responsible for the intergranular bond of grains.

Mining subsidence

Subsidence of ground may occur due to the removal of minerals and other materials from mines below.

Underground erosion

Underground erosion may cause the formation of cavities in the subsoil which when collapse cause settlement.

Causes of Settlement of Foundation

Change in the vicinity

If there are changes due to the construction of a new building near the existing foundation, the settlement may occur due to an increase in the stress.

Thermal change

Temperature change cause shrinkage in expansive soil due to which settlement occurs.


If landslides occur on unstable slopes, there may be serious settlement problem.

Frost heave

Frost heave occur if the structure is not founded below the depth of frost penetration. When thaw occurs, the foundation may settle.


The settlement may also occur due to creep on clay slopes.

Vibration and Shocks

Vibration and shock cause large settlement, especially in loose, cohesion less soils.

These are the causes of settlement of foundation. if you found this information helpful, please share it with your friends.

Also, Read

What is The Consolidation of Soil? Types and Process

Difference Between Compaction and Consolidation

What is the purpose of providing foundation?

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