A Caltech Library Service

Weight-Induced Stresses and the Recent Seismicity at Lake Oroville, California

Beck, J. L. (1976) Weight-Induced Stresses and the Recent Seismicity at Lake Oroville, California. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 66 (4). pp. 1121-1131. ISSN 0037-1106.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Lake Oroville is a large artificial lake created by the construction of a 235-m-high earth dam on the Feather River, California, near the city of Oroville. Its storage capacity is about 4.4 × 10^9 m^3, and its maximum depth is about 200 m. There was no significant increase in seismic activity in the lake region following impoundment of the dam late in 1967 until the occurrence of many small seismic events which began in June 1975. This activity lead to a M = 5.7 main shock on August 1, 1975 with an epicenter about 11 km SSW of the Oroville dam. The main shock produced significant damage in the city of Oroville which lies about 7 km NNW of the epicenter. With several cases of reservoir-induced activity already documented, it is natural to inquire whether the Oroville seismicity was due to the presence of the reservoir. As part of such a study, the stresses induced in the neighboring lithosphere by the weight of Lake Oroville are determined. On the basis of present geological data, it is unlikely that these stresses were responsible for the main shock of August 1, 1975. The weight-induced shear stress across the fault plane in the hypocentral region has a component of about 0.04 bar parallel to the reported fault movement but in opposition to this movement. The greatest weight-induced shear stress is about 3.4 bars and this occurs under the deepest portion of the lake. The greatest vertical deflection at the surface due to the weight of Lake Oroville is calculated to be about 5.5 cm.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:Copyright © 1976 by the Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received October 14, 1975. The author wishes to thank Professor G. W. Housner for suggesting this project and for providing some of the background data. The financial assistance of the New Zealand National Research Advisory Council during the author's graduate study is also gratefully acknowledged.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
New Zealand National Research Advisory CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120830-161527248
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:33740
Deposited By: Carmen Nemer-Sirois
Deposited On:04 Sep 2012 19:17
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:12

Repository Staff Only: item control page