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Stories Stories Eschatology Large-scale water use in California may cause small quakes: study

Large-scale water use in California may cause small quakes: study

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Written by Maricel Rubia     May 15, 2014    
 
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Depletion of groundwater in California's Central Valley for agriculture and other uses could be contributing to an increase in small earthquakes along the famed San Andreas fault, a scientific study published on Wednesday said.

But the phenomenon is not believed to lead to an increased risk of large earthquakes, said Western Washington University geology professor Colin Amos, the study's lead author.

Earthquakes

The study, which came out on Wednesday in the journal Nature, focused especially on the heavily irrigated San Joaquin Valley, an agricultural region at the southern end of the state's Central Valley.

It looked at the previously-studied rate of groundwater depletion for human use, which represents an amount of water roughly equal to Lake Tahoe, and the resulting sinking of lowland areas and the related rise in height of mountains.

That rise in height in the mountains is estimated to amount to no more than half a foot (41 cm), Amos said.

But the phenomenon puts more stress on the San Andreas fault, which runs just to the west of the San Joaquin Valley, leading to an increased likelihood of small earthquakes, the study found.

"These are small earthquakes we're dealing with,” Amos said.

"During a large earthquake, the change in stress you'd see on a fault is much, much greater than the magnitude of stress changes we're calculating” as related to groundwater depletion, he said.

The 810-mile (1,304 km) San Andreas fault runs roughly north-south through California.

A study published in Nature in 2009 found tidal forces parallel to a segment of the fault in central California might be causing non-volcanic tremors. The faint tug of the sun and the moon on the fault was responsible for that, according to the study.

Read full article: Large-scale water use in California may cause small quakes: study

Location

Epicentre
516 High St, Bellingham, WA 98225, United States

Details

Author
Reuters
Contributor's Comment
Liberals never run out of ways to control people's food supply, water supply, health care, or anything else they can get their mitts on. I guess it was not enough to create artificial droughts under the guise of protecting the "endangered" Delta Smelt. Now they need to gin up a sense of earthquake-panic as well. But when the Third World descends upon the nation, figuratively as well as literally, we will find that they have insulated themselves from its nasty drawbacks very handily.
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