A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan province in southwest China late Monday night, followed by a series of aftershocks measuring over magnitude 5.0 reports China’s official Xinhua news agency. Historical data indicates the event is an unprecedented one for the area.
The 7.0-magnitude earthquake in southwest China’s Sichuan province earlier this month, and a devastating 2008 quake in the same province, are likely linked to the region’s dam-building program, says expert.
Mining-related activity accounts for the most frequent cause of human induced seismicity, followed by water reservoir impoundment, according to The Induced Earthquakes Database – a comprehensive global review of all human-induced earthquakes.
China’s dam-building spree on the Tibetan Plateau has given Beijing immense leverage as controller of the region’s “blue gold” and with that power comes responsibility. For starters, to permit an open assessment of the impacts of these projects – particularly given the region’s vulnerability to seismic risk – and to share those findings with neighboring countries and the people most directly affected by dam construction upheaval.
A USD80-million research project at India’s Koyna dam site will study reservoir-triggered earthquakes (aka reservoir-induced seismicity) and the causes behind them. Dam activity at Koyna was blamed for a powerful earthquake in 1967 that destroyed the village of Koynanagar in western India’s Maharashtra state, left 180 people dead, 1,500 injured, thousands homeless and power cut off to Bombay.
Another deadly landslide at a hydropower construction site in Fujian, south-east China, highlights the growing risks of dam building in mountainous regions of Asia. Chinadialogue.net reports.
As China continues to embrace a new era of hydropower expansion, demand for dam inspection has outpaced the country’s supply of inspectors, ramping up safety fears for thousands of small- and medium-sized dams in China’s rural areas that have been “ignored”, reports Ecns.cn.
Beijing’s Lhasa River Project comes under fire from high-profile Chinese geologist and environmentalist, Fan Xiao.
President Xi Jinping’s pledge to prioritize environmental protection and halt new development projects on the Yangtze is a promising turnaround for China’s beleaguered river pulse but don’t hold your breath.
Patricia Adams, an economist with Probe International, says China will not live up to global CO2 emission standards. Commodities host, Andrew Bell , for Business News Network (BNN), interviews Adams after the release of her new report, The Truth About China, today.
Chinese authorities are hoping a large-scale rollout of hydropower can help to reduce toxic smog but, in addition to the high financial and environmental costs, many experts are skeptical that more hydropower means less coal.
Two of the most populous nations—China and India—are building hundreds of dams in a violently active geologic zone.
A massive landslide this week is only the latest natural disaster critics believe the Three Gorges Dam has caused—even officials admit there have been 70% more landslides and bank collapses in the dam’s reservoir area since it was built 12 years ago. Lily Kuo for Quartz reports.
Projects are strong enough to withstand a rare “thousand year” earthquake, say China Three Gorges Corporation officials: “no need to worry”. Experts beg to differ.
This Huffington Post blog, by Peter Neill, founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, looks at the global love affair with big dams and the perils of forcing water to acquiesce to political ambitions and national pride, and the sometimes dangerous results of doing so.