River’s Rise Linked to Oklahoma’s Largest Earthquake by Sarah Witman, January 13, 2017, Geophysical Research Letters, EOS Earth & Space Science News 98 doi.org/10.1029/2017EO066231

As human-induced earthquakes increase in frequency and magnitude, researchers race to uncover their effects on surface water and groundwater.

Earthquakes do much more than literally make the earth quake. The shifting of massive sheets of rock has an effect on all sorts of hydrogeological processes, affecting groundwater and surface water like rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

… A recent study by Manga et al. is the first documented instance in which an earthquake that was most likely induced by wastewater injection had a visible effect on surface water.

In early September 2016, an earthquake reaching 5.8 moment magnitude (an earthquake rating scale used for the largest quakes) struck Pawnee, Okla., setting a state record. … The team of researchers concluded that the quake was most likely triggered by one or more of the 26 wastewater disposal wells within a 20-kilometer radius, given that it was a strike-slip event, the type of earthquake most commonly associated with induced quakes in Oklahoma, and had several other telltale physical characteristics.

Several hours into the Pawnee quake, the U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge nearest the epicenter, located at Black Bear Creek, began recording rising water levels. The increase continued for a full week, until heavy rains obscured the data. The pattern of data they were able to collect is reminiscent of water level fluctuations following past earthquakes.

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