Reservoir-Induced Seismicity

Possible Link Between Dam and China Quake

Thursday, February 5, 2009
Originally published in The New York Times BEIJING - Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, left 80,000 people dead or missing, a growing number of American and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the earthquake's geological fault line. A Columbia University scientist who studied the quake has said that it may have been triggered by the weight of 320 million tons of water in the Zipingpu Reservoir less than a mile from a well-known major fault. His conclusions, presented to the Ame

Dam Safety in Southern Africa: Will the Walls Come Tumbling Down?

Kariba Faults
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The Mozambican NGO, JA-Justica Ambiental released the following statement on the dam safety in Southern African region for the Day of Action for Rivers, Water and Life in 2006. As a developing country, Mozambique, and the whole Southern African region, has a growing demand for electricity. Given Mozambique’s hydroelectric potential, much interest has been shown in building more dams on some of the country’s large rivers. The project that has been most keenly examined is the Mphanda Nkuwa Dam, proposed for the lower Zambezi about midway between the City of Tete and the existing Cahora B

Sichuan Earthquake Damages Dams, May Be Dam-Induced

Zipingpu Dam, Sep. 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Zipingpu Dam, Sep. 14, 2007 AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image The tragic Sichuan Earthquake of May 12, 2008, which killed an estimated 80,000 civilians, also damaged hundreds of dams in Sichuan Province. Soon after the earthquake struck, the Chinese government reported that at least 391 dams had been damaged in the quake, including major cracks on the largest dam in the area, the Zipingpu Dam. Since then, the Ministry of Water Resources has reported that as many as 2,380 dams were damaged in the earthquake. Scientists in China and the US also fear that the earthquake may have been induced by th

Dam–Induced Seismicity

Excerpt from Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams, by Patrick McCully, Zed Books, London, 1996 Every dam site has unique geological characteristics. Gaining a thorough understanding of these characteristics is expensive and time–consuming: millions of dollars may have been spent on a geological survey before it finds that a site is unsuitable for a dam. It is therefore normal for dams to be designed with only a partial knowledge of local site conditions – the builders just have to hope that they will not find any unstable formations which will fail to support their

Earthquakes Triggered by Africa's Katse Dam Force Families to Abandon Damaged Village

Katse Dam-triggered earthquake crack in village
Monday, February 10, 1997
Earthquakes caused by the filling of a huge reservoir in the southern African country of Lesotho have terrified local people for more than a year. Houses in seven villages beside the reservoir of Katse Dam have been damaged by tremors, and in the village of Mapeleng, 11 houses were made uninhabitable by the quakes. In late January 1997, twelve families left Mapeleng, abandoning homes which were damaged more than a year ago by earthquakes. Tremors continue to strike the area, according to the World Bank, a project funder. Reservoir–induced seismicity (RIS) is a widely recognized bu


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