Categorized | Water

Groundwater pumping in California Central Valley may cause earthquakes

irrigation

Mountains in the California Central Valley are rising faster than nearby mountains. This could be due to groundwater pumping for agriculture and could lead to increased numbers of earthquakes, researchers say. Water is heavy. Pump it out and the earth rises, which can cause faults to shift.

Unlike most states, California has no laws regulating groundwater pumping. In this time of drought, Central Valley farmers are drilling ever deeper for water and pumping out as much as they can. This is not sustainable or wise. California needs groundwater pumping regulations.

During wet periods of time when the fault is loaded down, the forces that are keeping the fault clamped down are greater. It inhibits the sliding of the fault.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Central Valley aquifers supply about 20% of the nation’s groundwater needs, making it the second-most-pumped aquifer system in the United States.

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