Induced seismicity: a geo-ecological problem of a technogenic nature

Open access


A debatable problem of the display of induced seismicity and its causes during the construction of reservoirs (Reservoir Induced Seismicity - RIS) is considered on the basis of an analysis of various publications. This paper describes the history of the evolution of ideas about the possibility of the activation of seismic events in the zones of influence of artificial reservoirs and examples of such activation in aseismic areas, which is a medium geological response to technogenic interference (e.g. Shivajisagar reservoir in West India, Mead reservoir in the USA, Danjiangkou Reservoir in central China, Nurek reservoir in Central Asia, Chirkey reservoir in Dagestan and other). The problem and reasons of induced seismicity (RIS) are debatable. however, published examples demonstrate the existence of this process. For reservoirs with different amounts of water RIS is an inseparable component of the natural and man-made geological process. The world statistics knows cases of seismicity intensification in areas near small man-made reservoirs with low pressure levels (Belecha in former Yugoslavia, Marathon in Greece, Grandval in France). In addition, it was found that the number of local earthquakes increased after creating a cascade of three small water reservoirs (Studen Kladenets, Kardzhali and Ivaylovgrad) in the basin of The Arda river (Bulgaria). The RIS examples listed above allow us to think that it is not only the creation of large reservoirs that change (in some cases, intensifies) the local seismicity in the surrounding area. No reservoir, no matter what size it is, is insured from such geological process. At the present time there are more than 100 places in the world with displays of induced seismicity due to reservoir construction. In India there are up to eight reservoirs with these problems. Induced seismicity associated with the influence of man-made water reservoirs, causes a specific geo-ecological risks to the surrounding areas.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Caloi P. 1970. How nature reacts on human intervention - responsibilities of those who cause and who interpret such reaction. Ann. Geofis. (Rome) 23: 283-305.

  • Carder D.S. 1945. Seismic investigations in the Boulder Dam area 1940-1944 and the influence of reservoir loading on earthquake activity. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 35: 175-192.

  • Gahalaut K. Gahalaut V.K. Pandey M.R. 2007. A new case of reservoir triggered seismicity: Govind Ballav Pant reservoir (Rihand dam) central India. Tectonophysics 439: 171-178.

  • Galanopoulos A.G. 1967. The influence of the fluctuation of Marathon Lake elevation of local earthquake activity in the Attica Basin area. Ann. Geol. Pays Helleniques (Athens) 18: 281-306.

  • Gough D.I. Gough W.I. 1970. Load-induced earthquakes at Lake Kariba 2. Geophys. J.: 79-101.

  • Gupta H.K. Rastogi B.K. Narain H. 1972. Common features of the reservoir associated seismic activities. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 62: 481-492.

  • Gupta H. Rastogi B. 1979. The dams and earthquakes. Mir Moscow [in Russian].

  • Imoto M. 2001. Point process modeling of reservoir induced seismicity J. Appl. Probability 38A (in press).

  • Liu S. Xu L. Talwani P. 2011. Reservoir-induced seismicity in the Danjiangkou Reservoir: a quantitative analysis. Geophys. J. Int. 185: 514-528. Doi: 10.1111/j.1365- 246X.2011.04959.x.

  • Mirzoyev K.M. Negmatullayev S.Kh. Simpson D. Soboleva O.V. 1987. Induced seismicity in the area of the reservoir of Nurek HPP. Dushanbe-Moscow DONISH [in Russian].

  • Rothe J.P. 1979. Introduction. [in:] The dams and earthquakes. Mir Moscow p. 10-11 [in Russian].

  • Reservoirs and their impact on the environment. 1986. Nauka Moscow [in Russian].

  • Selim M.M. Imoto M. and N. Hurukawa 2002. Statistical investigation of reservoir-induced seismicity in Aswan area Egypt. Earth Planetary Space 54: 349-356.

  • Westergaard H.M. Adkins A.W. 1934. Deformation of Earth’s Surface due to Weight of Bouider Reservoir. U. S. Bureau of Reclamation Denver Colo. Tech. Mem. No. 422.

  • Yuanzheng L. Jin M. Tong J. 2014. Insights gained from the seismicity around the Zipingpu reservoir before the Wenchuan MS 8.0 earthquake. Geodynamics & Tectonophysics 5 (3): 777-784. DOI:10.5800/GT-2014-5-3-0154 [in Russian].

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 205 91 0
PDF Downloads 110 64 3