Tag: RIS

Mega-dams in China’s earthquake zones could have “disastrous consequences”

(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.

Whitewashing the Three Gorges Dam

(October 15, 2012) Lauded by Chinese officialdom as a symbol of its growing might, the Three Gorges Dam had already been in operation for eight years when the Three Gorges Corporation issued its first-ever corporate social responsibility report. The release of the CSR report coincided with a wave of heightened concern surrounding the dam’s failings and impacts, and a rare admission by China’s State Council that all was not well with the jewel in its crown of modernity. A commentary by Li Tie at the time, published by China’s respected South Weekend, described the Corporation’s document as awash in insipid content” and exactly not what the public needed, which was honesty. Li even went so far as to say reports that did not respond honestly to widespread concerns, in effect, posed a threat to the nation’s social stability, leaving Chinese citizens more likely to place their faith in the country’s rumor mill than official documents they could not trust. Li’s misgivings appear to have only gained in resonance this year, as China’s recent summer of protest bears out.

Mapping disaster

(September 14, 2012) This spring, Probe International used the power of hazard mapping to assess the risks of China’s breakneck dam-building along its western rivers. Now, a new study published by the international scientific journal Tectonophysics discusses how flawed hazard maps may have underestimated such risks and been partly to blame for the devastation caused by the 2011 Japan, 2010 Haiti and 2008 China earthquakes.

Seismic signs

(September 5, 2012) Probe International has been at the forefront of research on the connection between seismic activity and large-dam construction, focusing on examples in China such as the Zipingpu Dam, which is thought to have triggered the deadly 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Now, a new article by U.S.-based quake warning advocate, David Nabhan, calls for a rethink of seismic forecasting in North America that draws on connections so often overlooked: specifically, the trigger effect of dams, and the impact of lunar and solar gravitational tides on earthquake activity.

China’s RIS threat a disaster in the making

(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.

Drought? Earthquake? Blame the Three-Gorges Dam: World View

(May 27, 2011) When China’s State Council announced there were “urgent problems” with the Three Gorges Dam, Chinese voices – both powerful and common – started to question its role in seemingly unrelated natural disasters, reports Bloomberg.com. In one both dramatic and comical example of a trend towards airing negative views, the popular, nationalist Global Times quoted dam expert, Zhang Boting, who offered this unreassuring gem: “After the construction of the project, there were thousands of minor earthquakes, which actually helped release built-up seismic energy in that area and reduced the possibility of big earthquakes happening in the future.”