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article imageEarthquake offers temporary reprieve for drought stricken state

By Greta McClain     Sep 12, 2014 in Environment
Napa - As California faces what many believe to be the worst drought in the state's history, last month's 6.0 magnitude earthquake appears to have offered temporary relief.
On August 24th of this year, the Napa Valley region of northern California was rocked by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake which caused an estimated $400 million in damages and claimed the life of 65-year-old woman. A short time ago, President Obama declared the area a major disaster, clearing the way for as much as $87 million in federal reimbursements.
Despite the loss of life and financial costs, some good news has come out of the destructive quake.
Almost immediately following the quake, water began trickling down the cliffs of the Solano County's Green Valley and previously barren creeks in Wild Horse and Green Valley saw water flowing once again. Officials believe the August quake shook trapped groundwater to the surface. Vallejo's assistant public works director, Franz Nestlerode, told KTVU:
"This is an unusual thing to have happen. Potentially it could turn out well for us. We'll use [the water] if the tests come back in a couple of weeks and everything checks out."
U.S. Geological Survey hydro-geologist,Tom Holzer, said fissures can form in rock after a powerful earthquake, allowing groundwater and water from underground springs to rise to the surface. He went on to say that other creeks and tributaries in the area around the quake are most likely seeing an influx of water as well.
California recorded its driest calendar year in 2013, and the dry conditions have continued. According to a recent report, more than 80 percent of the state is listed as experiencing either extreme or exceptional drought conditions. Although the earthquake driven water source provides a much needed reprieve, it will be short lived. The water now filling streams, lakes and reservoirs is expected to disappear within six to eight weeks once underground water levels return to normal. Holzer told the San Francisco Gate:
"There is only so much water in there. As the water table lowers, the water flow diminishes. It's like a bank account. You've just reached into the bank account and borrowed some money, but the spending spree will eventually end."
More about Earthquake, California, Napa valley, Drought
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