An Empirical Data Base for the Investigation of Earthquake-Related Changes in Crustal Hydrology

by R. Muir Wood, BEQE Ltd, Cambridge, United Kingdom,
G. C. P. King, BEQE Ltd, Cambridge, United Kingdom,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991


Both fracture permeability and fluid flow velocity can alter as a result of sudden strain changes associated with earthquake fault rupture. Testing the hydrological signatures of numerous earthquakes worldwide against simple strain models has provided the foundation of a methodology for comprehending this important hazard for hardrock repositories. The spatial extent and character of the strainfield is dependent on the tectonic style of faulting: major normal fault earthquakes have the most marked hydrological impact. Near-field hydrological changes, originating at the fault, can reflect strain changes in excess of 10-3 producing an almost explosive release of water. At far field distances of up to 60km residual strains can be sustained in excess of 10-5 while at greater distances strain is concentrated on a few susceptible and isolated fractures.

Subject Headings: Earthquakes | Strain | Hydrology | Water resources | Radioactive wastes | Surface fault rupture | Hydrologic models

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