Japan quake impacts on U.S. aquifers

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TOKYO, Japan, Mar. 17, 2011 -- The devastating magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off the east coast of Japan temporarily impacted on groundwater supplies as far away as America, affecting the states of Texas and Virginia.

The Edwards Aquifer in Texas, which supplies water to about 1.7 million people, witnessed its surface fluctuating wildly for about two hours after the Japan earthquake struck on March 11. Levels rose by one foot and continued to oscillate afterwards.

The Edwards Aquifer Authority told Water & Wastewater International (WWi) that the earthquake signal took approximately 15 minutes to arrive in the San Antonio area. Data was collected from the J-17 - Bexar County, San Antonio well in Texas using an analog recorder.

According to the authority, the J-17 has also been affected by earthquakes in Chile, Sumatra, Haiti, Mexico and Alaska.

Meanwhile, seismic waves from the quake were also felt in a monitoring well in Christiansburg, Virginia, according to the Baltimore Sun. A 2.5 foot rise and subsequent fall in the water level was reported in the USGS well.

Earlier this week WWi reported how the earthquake had caused huge disruption to the country's water supply (see WWi story).

At the time, a national emergency committee saw 250,000 bottles of water distributed, with beer tankers being used to transport water and 5,000 mobile latrines also being deployed.

Latest reports have shown that China will be delivering ten tonnes of bottled drinking water to Japan's earthquake-hit areas, provided by the Jilin provincial government and municipal government of Changchun.

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