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How rainfall variation can trigger earthquakes

Date:
October 5, 2010
Source:
Seismological Society of America
Summary:
A new review article explores natural crustal earthquakes associated with the elements of the hydrologic cycle, which describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth, including hurricanes and typhoons. The theory of hydroseismicity, first articulated in 1987, attributes most intraplate and near-intraplate earthquakes, to the dynamics of the hydrological cycle.

A new review article explores natural crustal earthquakes associated with the elements of the hydrologic cycle, which describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth, including hurricanes and typhoons. The theory of hydroseismicity, first articulated in 1987, attributes most intraplate and near-intraplate earthquakes, to the dynamics of the hydrological cycle.

The Hydroseismicity hypothesis suggests variations in rainfall affect pore-fluid pressure at depth and can trigger earthquakes in areas already under stress and near failure. This report cites documentation of metrological events -- rainfall, stream flow, hurricanes -- and observed seismic activity by more than 20 research teams across five continents, providing thorough testing and support of the Hydroseismicity hypothesis.

The authors suggest that the reported correlations between meteorological events and seismicity indicate the need for more local and regional earthquake monitoring networks as well as additional stream gauging stations. In the future it should be possible to discover and quantify causal relationships between earthquakes and meteorological parameters when better focal depths and more stream gauging stations become available. Groundwater hydrology measurements and earthquake monitoring and forecasting might eventually complement each other.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Seismological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John K Costain and G. A Bollinger. An Overview of Hydroseismicity Research Results from 1987 to 2009. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, October 2010

Cite This Page:

Seismological Society of America. "How rainfall variation can trigger earthquakes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101005131958.htm>.
Seismological Society of America. (2010, October 5). How rainfall variation can trigger earthquakes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101005131958.htm
Seismological Society of America. "How rainfall variation can trigger earthquakes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101005131958.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

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