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.
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.
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?”
(July 20, 2013) China is on the cusp of another dam-building binge. Nowhere is the aggressive dam push raising more eyebrows than in the country’s southwest. Last year, a report by the environmental group Probe International said of the 130 proposed dams on rivers in the region, nearly 50 per cent “are located in zones of high to very high seismic hazard.”
(April 29, 2013) Understanding the forces behind China’s magnitude-7 earthquake in Sichuan Province more than a week ago should sound warning bells. Patricia Adams digs deep into the country’s recent rash of earthquakes in southwestern China and finds the region’s seismic risk is increasingly man-made.
(April 24, 2013) Another article exploring the brewing debate over the cause or causes of the April 20 Lushan earthquake reports that the quake may have been an aftershock of Sichuan’s 2008 earthquake disaster, which some experts believe was triggered by the Zipingpu Dam reservoir. This issue of “reservoir-induced seismicity” is fast gaining attention as China, the most dammed nation in the world, is particularly at risk to the phenomenon. A 2011 Chinese study, for example, found China’s massive Three Gorges Dam had triggered around 3,000 earthquakes and numerous landslides in the reservoir region, representing a 30-fold increase in seismic activity in the area.
(April 21, 2013) The strong earthquake that struck China’s mountainous Sichuan province Saturday morning may have been an aftershock, says prominent Chinese geologist, Fan Xiao. The accumulation of stress had not yet been fully released, making this region a more dangerous area after the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.
(March 22, 2013) A new report, exclusive to Probe International, calls for urgent monitoring of China’s large dams in areas prone to seismic hazard. These areas may be at increased risk from dam reservoir-induced seismicity (RIS). Scientists have observed that reservoir impoundment may not only increase the risk of strong earthquakes, particularly in areas already vulnerable to high-intensity seismic activity, but may represent a more pronounced risk in the first few years after a dam is filled.
(November 1, 2012) China’s Three Gorges Dam was not affected by a minor earthquake that struck early Wednesday in Hubei province, say officials, one day after the mega-dam’s mega-reservoir was filled to maximum capacity for the third time since its construction.
(October 31, 2012) “Earthquake Hazards and Large Dams in Western China,” the Probe International report authored by geologist John Jackson, has set China’s academic and industry circles astir. As the debate over Jackson’s findings heats up, the respected Caixin Media magazine, New Century Weekly, looks at both sides of the debate and the specific issues Jackson’s explosive report has raised.
(May 11, 2012) Chinese hydropower magnates plan to build 25 new dam reservoirs on the Yangtze’s upper reaches despite warnings of seismic risks from dam-building overload in the area, and in spite of recent evacuation efforts due to the threat of geological disaster at Three Gorges.
(April 12, 2012) Patricia Adams discusses a new report commissioned by Probe International in today’s Huffington Post Canada.
(April 4, 2012) A new report finds more than 130 large dams being built in western China could trigger disaster — earthquakes, even tsunamis — due to their construction in seismic hazard zones.
(February 25, 2012) The breakneck pace of dam construction in China increases the risk of reservoir induced seismicity. But, without freedom of information and a justice system that allows victims to sue for redress, will killer dams ever come to light? Chinese power companies hope not. Now, an intrepid reporter from Beijing’s Caixin Net is on the trail of unreported RIS cases.
(February 16, 2012) An earthquake that shook Hong Kong early this morning was triggered by the Xinfengjiang dam on China’s mainland, say officials from the Guangdong Provincial Seismological Bureau.