Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 — Hydrologic disturbances

January 1, 1994

Seismic events have long been known to cause changes in the level of oceans, streams, lakes, and the water table. The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 induced significant hydrologic changes that were qualitatively similar to those changes observed for the Loma Prieta earthquake. What is different is that the hydrologic data sets collected from the Loma Prieta event have enough detail to enable hypotheses on the causes for these changes to be tested. The papers in this chapter document changes in ocean level, stream morphology and flow, water table height, and ground-water flow rates in response to the earthquake. Although hydrologic disturbances may have occurred about 1 hour before the main shock, the papers in this chapter deal strictly with postevent hydrologic changes. The hydrologic responses reported here reflect changes that are not the result of surface rupture. They appear to be the result of landslides, the static displacements induced by the earthquake, and changes in the permeability of the near surface.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1994
Title The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 — Hydrologic disturbances
DOI 10.3133/pp1551E
Authors
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1551
Index ID pp1551E
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Hazards Program, Earthquake Science Center