reservoirs Archives

Dams and earthquakes

Posted on February 6, 2009  /  0 Comments

In our work on dam safety, we found there was widespread fear about the big dams of the Mahaveli scheme causing geological instability in the central hills.  The following report on the possibility that the weight of water from a Sichuan Province dam caused last year’s earthquake, will fuel those fears. Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, left 80,000 people dead or missing, a growing number of American and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the earthquake’s geological fault line. A Columbia University scientist who studied the quake has said that it may have been triggered by the weight of 320 million tons of water in the Zipingpu Reservoir less than a mile from a well-known major fault. His conclusions, presented to the American Geophysical Union in December, coincide with a new finding by Chinese geophysicists that the dam caused significant seismic changes before the earthquake.