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In search of earthquake-related hydrologic and chemical changes along Hayward Fault

January 1, 1994

Flow and chemical measurements have been made about once a month, and more frequently when required, since 1976 at two springs in Alum Rock Park in eastern San Jose, California, and since 1980 at two shallow wells in eastern Oakland in search of earthquake-related changes. All sites are on or near the Hayward Fault and are about 55 km apart. Temperature, electric conductivity, and water level or flow rate were measured in situ with portable instruments. Water samples were collected for later chemical and isotopic analyses in the laboratory. The measured flow rate at one of the springs showed a long-term decrease of about 40% since 1987, when a multi-year drought began in California. It also showed several increases that lasted a few days to a few months with amplitudes of 2.4 to 8.6 times the standard deviations above the background rate. Five of these increases were recorded shortly after nearby earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or larger, and may have resulted from unclogging of the flow path and increase of permeability caused by strong seismic shaking. Two other flow increases were possibly induced by exceptionally heavy rainfalls. The water in both wells showed seasonal temperature and chemical variations, largely in response to rainfall. In 1980 the water also showed some clear chemical changes unrelated to rainfall that lasted a few months; these changes were followed by a magnitude 4 earthquake 37 km away. The chemical composition at one of the wells and at the springs also showed some longer-term variations that were not correlated with rainfall but possibly correlated with the five earthquakes mentioned above. These correlations suggest a common tectonic origin for the earthquakes and the anomalies. The last variation at the affected well occurred abruptly in 1989, shortly before a magnitude 5.0 earthquake 54 km away. ?? 1993.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1994
Title In search of earthquake-related hydrologic and chemical changes along Hayward Fault
DOI
Authors C. -Y. King, D. Basler, T. S. Presser, William C. Evans, L.D. White, A. Minissale
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Applied Geochemistry
Series Number
Index ID 70017739
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization