Reservoir may have triggered devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China

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Washington, November 6 (ANI): A new study by scientists has confirmed that a reservoir may have triggered the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China that killed nearly 90,000 people.

Reservoirs have been known to trigger earthquakes because the change in water level can add to stress on nearby faults.

Recently, some scientists made the suggestion that the Zipingpu Reservoir, completed in 2005, may have set off the Wenchuan earthquake.

However, this suggestion has been controversial.

To evaluate the possible effect of the Zipingpu Reservoir on the Wenchuan earthquake, Shemin Ge from the University of Colorado and his team constructed a two-dimensional model to study how the reservoir changed the stresses on the nearby faults.

The researchers considered changes in static stress due to weight of the water and changes in pore pressure in the rocks beneath the reservoir due to fluid diffusion.

They estimated that the Zipingpu reservoir increased stress on the nearby faults by enough to have speeded up their rupture by tens to hundreds of years.

The researchers pointed out that resolving the question of whether the Zipingpu Reservoir contributed to the Wenchuan earthquake is important for understanding reservoir and earthquake hazards, especially in regions where dams are being rapidly built near faults. (ANI)

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