Category: Dams and Earthquakes

Dam on dangerous ground

(December 18, 2003) Two civil engineering professors at Wuhan University believe that earthquakes in the Three Gorges reservoir area are a real cause for concern, and call for more resources to be put into investigating the region’s seismic problems.

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Reservoir-induced seismicity in China

(1998) A review of case histories of reservoir-induced seismicity (RIS) in China shows that it mainly occurs in granitic and karst terranes. Seismicity in granitic terranes is mainly associated with pore pressure diffusion whereas in karst terranes the chemical effect of water appears to play a major role in triggering RIS. In view of the characteristic features of RIS in China, we can expect moderate earthquakes to be induced by the construction of the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River.

On the nature of reservoir-induced seismicity

(1997) In most cases of reservoir-induced seismicity, seismicity follows the impoundment, large lake-level changes, or filling at a later time above the highest water level achieved until then. We classify this as initial seismicity. This ‘‘initial seismicity’’ is ascribable to the coupled poroelastic response of the reservoir to initial filling or water level changes.

Review of seismic-hazard issues associated with the Auburn Dam project, Sierra Nevada foothills, California

The potential for reservoir-induced seismicity, which is the triggering of earthquakes by the physical processes that accompany the impoundment of large reservoirs, was recognized during the seismic hazard studies for the original Auburn Dam. It remains an important issue for the present project because of the potential to increase the probability of earthquakes near the dam.