Sichuan Earthquake

A Faultline Runs Through It: Exposing the Hidden Dangers of Dam-Induced Earthquakes

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Besides posing a major risk to dams, scientists are increasingly certain that earthquakes can be triggered by the dams themselves. Globally, scientists believe that there are over 100 instances, strewn over six continents, of dam reservoirs inducing earthquakes. The most serious case could be the magnitude-7.9 Sichuan earthquake in China in May 2008, which some experts believe may have been induced by the Zipingpu Dam. Download the factsheet for more information on Reservoir-Induced Seismicity, including key case studies of potential RIS sites, quotes from leading seismologists, and a list of

China Earthquake a Dam-Induced Disaster?

Sichuan earthquake of May 2008
Sichuan earthquake of May 2008 mike at The devastating earthquake in Sichuan, which took at least 69,000 lives in May 2008, may have been unleashed by the huge Zipingpu Dam. New scientific evidence suggests that the filling of the Zipingpu reservoir may have activated a dormant fault line near the dam site. This is all the more worrisome because the Chinese government plans to shift the center of its dam-building efforts into seismically active regions. It is well established that large dams can trigger earthquakes through what is called reservoir-induced seismicity. Scienti

Earthquake Raises Concerns Over Mega Dams

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Originally published in The Irrawaddy Frequent earthquakes in North Burma this year have raised more concern over the military government's plan to build a series of mega dams on the Irrawaddy River to generate electricity. A 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit China's border with Burma early on Wednesday, destroying homes and forcing more than 1,000 people to evacuate, the US Geological Survey and Chinese state media said. (Photo: AFP)Aung Wa, the chairman of the Kachin Development Network Group (KDNG) who is based in Laiza on the Burma-China border, said four earthquakes have struck in Kachin Stat

Chinese Experts Appeal to Authorities to Suspend Big Dam Projects Following Sichuan's Deadly Earthquake

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Experts in geology, water conservancy, and environmental protection have jointly appealed to authorities in Beijing to temporarily suspend the approval of big hydro dams in geologically unstable areas in southwest China, in the wake of the deadly May 12 earthquake. They argue that top priority should be given to doing a careful and detailed investigation of all dams and reservoirs in the disaster affected region, and that no more large scale dam projects should be approved before risk assessments of reservoirs in Sichuan are completed, the First Business Daily (Diyi caijing bao) reported on Ju

Engineers Face Testing Times as Thousands Flee Dam Threat

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Originally published in The Financial Times The modern world has never faced the threat of dangerous dams onanything like the scale of the crisis now unfolding in Sichuan in theaftermath of the earthquake two weeks ago, engineers say. In addition to about 380 existing man-made dams that were significantlydamaged by the 7.9-magnitude quake, the Chinese authorities are facedwith an estimated 35 new "natural" dams formed when hills and mountainscollapsed into rivers, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The greatest immediate threat comes from the Tangjiashan "quake lake"on the Jianhe R

China Considers Earthquake Danger of Dams

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The presence of so many dams near the epicenter in Sichuan province hascomplicated rescue and recovery efforts. Some even say that dams can causequakes. Originally published in the Los Angeles Times BEIJING -- Mao Tse-tung famously declared "man must conquer nature," andhis political heirs have followed his dictum zealously by building damsand other gigantic projects that have altered the landscape of China. But this month's deadly earthquake may tilt the balance of public opinionin favor of a more cautious and environmentally conscious approach to suchdevelopment. China has more dams than an

Temblor Throws Shadow on Big Dam Ambitions

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Originally published in the Inter Press Service News Agency DUJIANGYAN, Jun 25 (IPS) - China's deadly earthquake last monthappears to have shifted more than just tectonic plates in thecountry's picturesque Sichuan province. The May 12 temblor has given aboost to China's green lobby that has been calling for a review ofBeijing's zealous dam-building programme and may tilt the balance ofpublic opinion in favour of such appeals. When the quake struck, it came in an area famous for ancienthydrological works. Sichuan is the homeland of Da Yu, the legendaryChinese emperor who won his right to the

Greens Demand Halt to 'Feverish' Dam Building

Friday, June 20, 2008
Scientists want review of major hydroelectric projects in unstable areas Originally published in the South China Morning Post Mainland experts, environmental groups and activists have urged thegovernment to review plans to build big dams in the earthquake-pronesouthwest.An open letter issued yesterday appealed to mainland authorities tolaunch risk assessments of big hydropower projects in quake-devastatedSichuan and neighbouring Yunnan before giving the go-ahead to thebuilding of more dams in geologically unstable areas. The letter came after a survey by the Ministry of Water Resourcesreveale

China Plays Down Dam Failure Concerns

Friday, May 16, 2008
Originally published in the Financial Times Last updated: May 16 2008 17:17If Engineer Yue was worried about lingering just downstream of the dam that has been the focus of fears of catastrophic infrastructure failure caused by China's earthquake, he was certainly not showing it.Despite the large cracks clearly visible on the 156m-tall Zipingpu dam's façade and reports that it might be unsound, Mr Yue said on Friday he was confident it had safely survived the 7.9 magnitude tremor that rocked the area on ­Monday."The managers... are all in their offices," said Mr Yue, pointing at an administr

NYT: Chinese Soldiers Rush to Bolster Weakened Dams

Thursday, May 15, 2008
Originally published in The New York Times CHENGDU, China — China mobilized 30,000 additional soldiers to the earthquake-shattered expanses of the nation’s southwestern regions on Wednesday — not just to help victims, but also to shore up weakened dams and other elements of the infrastructure whose failure could compound the disaster.Experts said that these dams were built around the well-recognized Longmen Shan fault. They warned that such dams might have sustained damage that could cause them to fail even weeks later.Much depends on efforts to reduce the menacing pressure of water behi


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