Thirst for water moves and shakes California

In California’s Central Valley, removing groundwater to irrigate crops may trigger small earthquakes and uplift nearby mountains

By Stephen Ornes, 08:44 AM May 29, 2014

California’s thirst for water is creating unrest. During the dry season, tiny earthquakes rattle the state. And its mountains have begun creeping higher, bit by bit.

Scientists have just linked the two phenomena to the heavy pumping of water from natural reserves below California’s Central Valley. The groundwater provides drinking water and irrigates some of the country’s most productive farms.

Over the last 150 years, that pumping has removed 160 cubic kilometers (more than 38 cubic miles) of ...

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