In September I questioned the theory
going around that the devastating Sichuan province earthquake in May
was caused by the Three Gorges Dam. The idea was inspired by research out of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska in 1999 (long before Three Gorges was built) that said that the weight of the water held back by the dam could cause "reservoir-induced seismicity." The problem with Probe International's charge
was that the fact that Three Gorges happens to be 400 miles from the epicenter. But now scientists have found
that a closer dam
might have contributed to tectonic shifts of the 7.9 variety, that its several hundred million tons of water would have put "25 times" the stress
of natural tectonic movements on the fault line.
That the dam involved is not the controversial
Three Gorges doesn't lessen the consequence here: an earthquake caused by a man-made dam means the government has to answer, at least in part, for 80,000 deaths.