Review

Streamflow and Water Well Responses to Earthquakes

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Science  27 Jun 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5628, pp. 2047-2049
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082980

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Abstract

Earthquake-induced crustal deformation and ground shaking can alter stream flow and water levels in wells through consolidation of surficial deposits, fracturing of solid rocks, aquifer deformation, and the clearing of fracture-filling material. Although local conditions affect the type and amplitude of response, a compilation of reported observations of hydrological response to earthquakes indicates that the maximum distance to which changes in stream flow and water levels in wells have been reported is related to earthquake magnitude. Detectable streamflow changes occur in areas within tens to hundreds of kilometers of the epicenter, whereas changes in groundwater levels in wells can occur hundreds to thousands of kilometers from earthquake epicenters.

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