Could Recent Heavy Rains Trigger Earthquakes?

PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — Southern California has reaped many benefits from the recent rain.

However, a recent report from phys.org suggests California could be in for some earthquakes. As rain seeps deep into the faults and our reservoirs and aquifers that were once empty and now filled with water, the pressure underground could trigger the tremors, the report says.

Lucy Jones from Caltech says the study sites shallow earthquakes that happened after heavy rainfall 15 years ago in Germany and Switzerland.

“It did in Europe; we’ve never seen it here,’ Jones said.

Jones says to trigger an earthquake here of any significant magnitude, the water would have to go about six miles below the surface.

“Even if you add a lot, 20 feet, it’s such a small percentage compared to that four kilometers of weight that matters down at the bottom,” Jones said.

The report cited 170 reservoirs around the world that have had induced quake activity. Jones says the rain can wreak a lot of havoc, but earthquakes are likely not one of them.

“Failing dams, landslides … the actual damage that rain does to California exceeds what the earthquakes have done,” Jones said.

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