Groundwater loss increases seismicity in California’s Central Valley

By on May 23, 2014

California's San Joaquin Valley and Central Valley. (Credit: Amadscientist, via Wikimedia Commons)


Groundwater depletion in California’s Central Valley is increasing the likelihood of earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

Scientists at four different universities contributed to the study to find that the water loss decreases pressure on areas around the fault. This loss, they say, has impacts on the shape of Earth’s crust and seismicity overall.

The findings are based on data from GPS networks that analyzed small geological movements in and around the Central Valley. The valley is noted as the center of California’s farm industry.

Image: California’s San Joaquin Valley and Central Valley. (Credit: Amadscientist, via Wikimedia Commons)

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