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.
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.
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.
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.
This spotlight on mega-dams of note, profiled by International Rivers’ Peter Bosshard for The Guardian, lists more banes than boons with a quest Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, famously described as the “disease of gigantism.”
Increasing demand for natural catastrophe insurance has provided the world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re, with its biggest market in the Asia Pacific region: China. But how will Munich Re classify disasters, such as earthquakes, in a country where seismic events are a growing subject of debate as to how many are natural and how many are man-made?
Beijing-based media group, Caixin, reports on Chinese geologist Fan Xiao’s research supporting a link between a 6.5-magnitude earthquake in China’s Yunnan Province in early August and the filling of dam reservoirs in the area. Several Probe International studies are cited.
Another major earthquake has struck China’s Yunnan Province. Close to the epicenter of the earthquake are a number of hydropower dams. We asked Chinese geologist Fan Xiao: “Is there a link?”
Is China’s hydropower safe? Bloomberg’s Adam Minter cites Probe International’s investigations into the link between China’s dam-building and the surge in earthquakes.