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Volume 58 Supplement 2

Special Issue: The 2004 Great Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami

Changes in groundwater levels or pressures associated with the 2004 earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra (M9.0)


Associated with the 2004 earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra, changes in groundwater levels or pressures were observed at many observation stations in Japan which are more than 5000 km from the hypocenter. At 38 of the 45 observation stations, there were changes in groundwater levels or pressures. At the 10 observation stations in which the Ishii-type borehole strain instruments were established, changes in crustal strains were also observed. A major part of the changes in crustal strains and groundwater levels or pressures were dynamic oscillations due to a seismic wave. At some stations, coseismic or postseismic rises or drops were also observed. At five stations where both crustal stain and groundwater levels or pressures were observed, postseismic changes in groundwater levels or pressures were consistent with coseismic static steps in crustal strains. At the other five stations, postseismic changes in groundwater levels or pressures did not agree with the coseismic static steps. At two stations of these five stations, it is anticipated that the pore water pressure change in each aquifer locally occurred independently of the change in crustal strain. At another station, postseismic changes in groundwater level possessed the same characteristics as a model removing the temporary deposition. At the last two stations, the causes of the changes are unknown.


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Correspondence to Yuichi Kitagawa.

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Kitagawa, Y., Koizumi, N., Takahashi, M. et al. Changes in groundwater levels or pressures associated with the 2004 earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra (M9.0). Earth Planet Sp 58, 173–179 (2006).

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Key words

  • Sumatra earthquake
  • groundwater level or pressure
  • crustal strain
  • oscillation due to a seismic wave
  • postseismic changes