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Violent groundwater eruption triggered by a distant earthquake

November 23, 2022

It is now well established that earthquakes cause various hydrogeological responses at distances thousands of kilometers from the epicenter. What remains unexplained is the large amplitude and intensity of some responses. Following the 2004 Mw 9.1 Sumatra earthquake, groundwater 3,200 km from the epicenter erupted violently from a well and formed a water fountain reaching a height exceeding 60 m. We model the relevant processes by combining tidal analysis of groundwater level with numerical simulations using a two-dimensional finite-element model. We suggest that the eruption resulted from a combination of factors, including a rapid increase of crustal permeability and runaway CO2 exsolution and bubble nucleation induced by the passage of seismic waves. Our results may have implications for some engineering applications such as oil production and CO2 sequestration, and the eruption of hydrothermal features such as geysers.

Publication Year 2022
Title Violent groundwater eruption triggered by a distant earthquake
DOI 10.1029/2022GL101239
Authors Xin Yan, Zheming Shi, Chi-Yuen Wang, Steven E. Ingebritsen, Michael Manga
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysical Research Letters
Index ID 70238871
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center