When a load is applied on the ground, it increases the vertical effective stress. This stress increases the vertical strain in the soil. This increase in vertical strain causes the ground to move downward. This downward movement of the ground is called settlement.
Many civil engineering projects include placing of loads on the ground, which produces increase in vertical effective stress. This increase in vertical stress is important because it produces vertical strain in the soil.
When downward movement of the ground occurs over a large area due to increase in vertical strain in the soil. Then this movement is sometimes called Subsidence.
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