Numerical Relationship between Surface Deformation and a Change of Groundwater Table before and after an Earthquake


The purpose of this study is to estimate the effect of earthquakes upon a groundwater flow around a repositories for high-level radioactive wastes. Estimation of a groundwater flow change before and after an earthquake or a volcanic eruption is one of the issues for a long-term safety assessment of the repositories. However, almost any systematic investigation about the causality between a groundwater flow change and an earthquake or an eruption was not found, and as well no estimation formula has been published. We succeeded to obtain a primitive relationship between a groundwater change and an earthquake in this study.

Our study consists of three stages. First, several survey reports which describe field observation results of groundwater anomalies caused by earthquakes or eruptions have been collected. The necessary data have been read from the literature and systematically arranged. Second, source mechanisms of the corresponding earthquakes were inspected and static displacements at the well positions were calculated by the dislocation theory in the seismology. Third, parametric studies among the parameters of groundwater anomalies and earthquakes were carried out to find a numerical relationship between a couple of them. Then, a preliminary relationship between water table change in a well and static displacement at the well position was found.

We can conclude that temporary change of water table seems to depend on the norm of displacement vector. In this relationship, the maximum value of water table change would be approximately one hundred times of the displacement.

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Correspondence to Yoshihiko AKAO.

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AKAO, Y. Numerical Relationship between Surface Deformation and a Change of Groundwater Table before and after an Earthquake. MRS Online Proceedings Library 353, 485–492 (1994).

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