Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Increased stream discharge after the 3 September 2016 Mw 5.8 Pawnee, Oklahoma earthquake


Earthquakes influence hydrogeological processes and properties in Earth's crust, some of which affect surface waters. We document increased discharge in a stream after the 3 September 2016 Mw 5.8 earthquake near Pawnee, Oklahoma, an event likely induced by underground wastewater disposal. Discharge increased by an order of magnitude and remained elevated until the change was obscured by rain 1 week later. Given the earthquake magnitude and distance from the stream, by comparison with previous examples of responses to earthquakes, increased discharge after this earthquake is expected. While the mechanism increasing discharge cannot be confirmed, the observations require changes in physical properties of the subsurface. Fluid injection may thus influence hydrogeological properties of shallow groundwater systems and aquifers indirectly by inducing seismicity, if the induced seismic events are large enough.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View