Extracting water for human activities is increasing the number of small earthquakes being triggered in California.
A new study suggests that the heavy use of ground water for pumping and irrigation is causing mountains to lift and valleys to subside. The scientists say this depletion of the water is increasing seismic activity along the San Andreas fault. They worry that over time this will hasten the occurrence of large quakes. So great is the demand that scientists estimate twice as much water is being consumed as is being returned through rain and snow.
All this extraction is having a significant impact on the shape of the Earth. The floors of the valleys are subsiding, the researchers found, while the surrounding mountains are on the rise.
"We are removing a weight from the Earth's crust and it is responding by flexing upwards and literally moving mountains," lead author Dr Colin Amos told BBC News.
Climate change is real, man made, and it is hitting almost every part of the US. And it is going to get a lot worse.
One of the areas that's likely to feel the full effects of warming is the second largest state: Texas. The report predicts more heat, more dry spells and more extreme weather events in a place that suffered record temperatures in 2011.
So desperate are they for water in the town of Wichita Falls, the locals are investigating the possibility of recycling toilet water for human consumption!
As Texas is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the US, there is a certain synchronicity to the scale of the impacts the state is likely to endure.
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