Observation Points Map of Ellington Field Spaceport Development Project

Geologic Fault Assessment Clears Large Tract of Land for Development at Airport

Project Background

Ellington Field Spaceport Development Project

HVJ Associates, Inc. completed a geologic fault assessment of a large tract slated for development as part of the Ellington Field Spaceport at Ellington Airport in Houston, Texas. The acreage is currently partially developed with runway facilities and several roads. 

Practice: Geologic and Engineering Services

Sector: Airport

Location: Harris County, Texas

Services: Phase I and II Geologic Fault Assessments


The Goal

  • To understand how the configuration and movement rate of a series of geologic faults on the EFD Spaceport area may impact project development.
  • To determine the location of fault hazard bands and provide appropriate engineering design guidance to help reduce potential fault impacts to subject project area utilities, structures, and pavement.

Our Solution

At HVJ Associates, Inc., our task was to provide complex geologic faulting delineation services at Ellington Field for the EFD Spaceport project.  We reviewed published and unpublished literature on faulting in the areas, site reconnaissance, the installation of a series of deep boreholes, geophysical logging of these boreholes and surface profile surveying to determine scarp locations. 

The data for this study showed that a fault appeared to be present beneath the proposed spaceport. The fault extended to the ground surface, which supported our recommendation of a fault hazard band along a portion of the proposed Spaceport area. 

HVJ Associates geologic and engineering personnel interpreted gamma-ray logs, elevation profiles, and other data. We concluded the potential for active surface faulting to the proposed project area was high due to the geologic faults transecting the EFD Spaceport area. 

The Results

  • Based on this information, HVJ Associates delineated a fault hazard band and indicated that planned site improvements such as buildings, roadways, and utilities in the vicinity of this fault hazard band within the project area are likely to be impacted by both vertical and horizontal fault movement in the future.
  • We also concluded that buildings in this area would experience cracks in the walls, utilities will experience breakage due to fault movement, and parking lots and roadways are also likely to be impacted due to fault movements which will result in frequent and persistent pavement cracks and deterioration.

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