BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Scientists are now revealing that earthquakes were detected when the main Oroville Dam Spillway failed in February of 2017, which may be attributed to the spillway itself.
Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey say two earthquakes happened at the time the spillway failed. One of them was a 1.0 magnitude tremor, with the other being a 1.8 magnitude.
So, they took a closer look and discovered that since 1993, there were thousands of small, shallow earthquakes at the dam.
"What we ended up finding was that all of these 20,000 events coincided with use of the spillway," said Ole Kaven, a research physicist for the U.S. Geological Survey. "The most likely culprit is that water gets under the spillway and into cracks in bedrock. These cracks open and then close, and then they generate these siesmic signals."
Kaven says he does not believe the quakes caused the failure.
A team of independent experts found the design and other factors were the cause.
Scientists say, ultimately, the quakes at Oroville Dam appear to be man-made.
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