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The earthquake at Bhuj on 26th January 2001 was preceded and followed by a number of earthquakes worldwide. The pattern depicted by this phenomenon raised a question whether the archimedian lever effect caused by the oscillating weight of waters behind large dams on the Indian subcontinent caused earthquakes worldwide. The earthquakes were so far thought to be caused by some dams only locally by the pore pressure effect. However, the dynamics of the earth appeared to be affected by the rapidly rising concentration of waters behind dams during the gigantic transfer of rain-waters from the oceans to the Indian subcontinent by the South-West monsoon and by the withdrawal of the waters during the dry season thereafter. Hence the following hypothesis was formulated and investigated.
Reservoir Triggered Earthquakes
Large new reservoirs can trigger earthquakes. This is due to either:
• change in stress because of the weight of water, or more commonly by
• increased groundwater pore pressure decreasing the effective strength of the rock under the reservoir.
For triggered earthquakes to occur, both mechanisms require that the area is already under considerable tectonic stress.
Reservoir triggered earthquakes are often referred to as reservoir induced seismicity (RIS), but use of the term "induced" is now becoming unfashionable. To many people it implies that the reservoir caused the earthquake. The energy released in a reservoir triggered earthquake is normal tectonic strain energy that has been prematurely released because of the reservoir.