Thibault Candela

Geomechanics Scientist | Human-Induced Subsidence and Seismicity

In my role as lead scientist of the PMC Subsidence I ensure that our research development and project portfolio are aligned with social and market needs. One of the burning challenges we face is: how to identify the individual subsidence contribution of each of superimposed deep and shallow subsurface activities? The deployment of complementary ex situ and in situ monitoring strategies is key in this regard.

Multifaceted humans-Earth interactions take place during our subsurface activities. If we take the Netherlands as example, since centuries the slow sinking of the ground is exacerbated by the human-controlled drainage of peatland, and more recently induced seismicity became a major concern which culminated with the Groningen gas field.

My research is geared toward ensuring safe human-Earth interactions with a specific focus on the two largest potential threats: subsidence and seismicity.

My approach consists in constantly confronting physics-based predictive models with real field observations to improve our understanding of the causal relationship between these two potential threats and our human activities (such as shallow groundwater management and deeper extractions and/or storage of resources). Ultimately my work helps to establish overarching responsibilities and to better develop science-based sites-specific prevention and mitigation strategies.

Top publications:

Candela, T., Koster, K. (2022). The many faces of anthropogenic subsidence. Science, 376 (6600), 1381-1382.

Candela, T., Wassing, B., Ter Heege, J., Buijze, L. (2018). How earthquakes are induced. Science, 360 (6389), 598-600.


Princetonlaan 6
NL-3584 CB Utrecht

Postal address

P.O. Box 80015
NL-3508 TA Utrecht