Saturday, February 7, 2009

China's 2008 quake may be related to dam, raising questions about hyrdroelectric power in unstable areas

Some scientists are now saying that the enormous earthquake in Sichuan Province, China in May 2008, leading to 80000 deaths, could have been triggered by the 320 million tons of water in the Zipingpu Reservoir, which is said to be near a major fault.

There are obvious political implications for the story, not only for China but also for the development of hydroelectric power and large scale renewable energy products as a whole. Engineers will have to evaluate the possibility of triggering earthquakes. Of course, it is possible that eventually the earthquake would occur anyway.

The story by Sharaon LaFraniere appears on the front page of The New York Times, Feb. 6, 2009, “Scientists point to possible link between dam and China quake”, link here.

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