Concerns have been raised that stresses from reservoir impoundment may trigger damaging earthquakes because rate changes have been associated with reservoir impoundment or stage-level changes globally. Here, the idea is tested blindly using Anderson Reservoir, which lies atop the seismically active Calaveras fault. The only knowledge held by the author going into the study was the expectation that reservoir levels change cyclically because of seasonal rainfall. Examination of seismicity rates near the reservoir reveals variability, but no correlation with stage-level changes. Three-dimensional finite-element modeling shows stress changes sufficient for earthquake triggering along the Calaveras fault zone. Since many of the reported cases of induced triggering come from low-strain settings, it is speculated that gradual stressing from stage-level changes in high-strain settings may not be significant. From this study, it can be concluded that reservoirs are not necessarily risky in active tectonic settings.
- Received 7 April 2011.
- Revision received 9 May 2011.
- Accepted 12 May 2011.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America