Category: Dams and Earthquakes

China quakes, but the dams don’t break

(December 28, 2008) The biggest potential disaster, Pearce reports, was averted at the Zipingpu dam, just 17 kilometres from the quake’s epicenter. “Holding back more than a cubic kilometer of water … the hydroelectric dam was the largest of a new, cheap design with a rock core and concrete face. As the tight valley sides juddered, the structure was squeezed and ended up 18 centimeters downstream, and 70 cm lower. … The concrete was ripped apart but the core of the dam survived.”

Chinese scientists talk about the Zipingpu reservoir-triggered earthquake

(December 15, 2008) Top Chinese scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have dismissed the possibility that the Zipingpu dam reservoir could have induced China’s devastating 2008 earthquake, complaining that the media has been “incessantly questioning the wisdom of building more and more hydro dams in earthquake-prone southwest China” in the wake of last year’s quake.

Integrated analysis of stress and regional seismicity by surface loading: a case study of the Zipingpu reservoir

(December 1, 2008) Probe International provides a partial translation of a Chinese geological case study of the Zipingpu reservoir authored by scientists from the government’s China Earthquake Administration. The study concluded that the 320 million tonnes of water in the Zipingpu reservoir had “clearly affected local seismicity” in the region and that, "it is worthwhile to further study if the effect played a role in triggering the Wenchuan earthquake."

Study on Methods of Reservoir Induced Seismicity Prediction of the Three Gorges Reservoir”

(October 17, 2008) Based on the analysis of seismogeological background, the Three Gorges Reservoir area is divided into 31 units according to different combined conditions of induced earthquake, together with 8 influencing factors, to give the prediction on probability and magnitude of RIS by adopting statistical prediction model, fuzzy mathematics and gray system model as well as artificial neural network model respectively.

New geomorphological index created for studying active tectonics of mountains

(June 3, 2008) To build a hospital, nuclear power station or a large dam you need to know the possible earthquake risks of the terrain. Now, researchers from the Universities of Granada and Jaen, alongside scientists from the University of California, have developed, based on relief data from the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada, a geomorphological index that analyses land form in relation to active tectonics, applicable to any mountain chain on the planet.