Tag: dam-induced earthquake

Earthquakes, dams and responsibility

(November 21, 2011) Matt Ridley, writing about dams and induced seismicity in the Wall Street Journal, cites Probe International’s reports on the consequences of building the Three Gorges Dam: the Yangtze is drying up downstream, and seismic activity has increased 30-fold.


In Wenchuan, geological risks continue

Three years after the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, geologist Yang Yong investigates the proliferation of hastily approved mining and industry projects putting the area at risk of further geological disasters.

Three Gorges Dam: trigger of severe earthquakes?

(March 2011) The giant structure located in China has already caused more than 3,400 (so far minor) earthquakes. Scientists are now warning that a much bigger disaster could be looming on the horizon. A study by seismologists at the China Earthquake Administration (formerly known as the China Seismological Bureau) indicates that the massive Three Gorges dam on the Yangtze River “significantly increased” seismic activity along the dam’s reservoir.

Evidence for surface loading as trigger mechanism of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake

(July 14, 2010) Abstract: Two and a half years prior to China’s M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake of May 2008, at least 300 million metric tons of water accumulated with additional seasonal water level changes in the Minjiang River Valley at the eastern margin of the Longmen Shan. This article shows that static surface loading in the valley induced Coulomb failure stresses on the nearby Beichuan thrust fault system at <17km depth.

The Zipingpu experiment: Dam engineers go back to the drawing boards

(April 20, 2010) Until the deadly Wenchuan earthquake in China in 2008, no large concrete face rockfill dam (CFRD) had ever been subject to a strong, ground shaking earthquake. But that changed on May 12, 2008 when the Zipingpu hydro dam, one of the largest CFRDs in China and sitting just 17 km from the earthquake epicenter, suffered higher than anticipated seismic forces, causing major damage to its concrete face and deflecting the giant structure 180 mm downstream. A leading scientist now says the earthquake should act as a wake up call for dam builders.

More evidence the Zipingpu dam may be to blame for the Wenchuan earthquake

(November 6, 2009) A recent article by scientists in the U.S. provides further evidence that the Zipingpu dam’s reservoir may have triggered the devastating May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China. The Wenchuan earthquake killed nearly 90,000 people and unleashed a chorus of speculation that the Zipingpu reservoir may have contributed to the severity of the earthquake, or helped to trigger it.