The temporal distribution of induced seismicity following the filling of large reservoirs shows two types of response. At some reservoirs, seismicity begins almost immediately following the first filling of the reservoir. At others, pronounced increases in seismicity are not observed until a number of seasonal filling cycles have passed. These differences in response may correspond to two fundamental mechanisms by which a reservoir can modify the strength of the crust—one related to rapid increases in elastic stress due to the load of the reservoir and the other to the more gradual diffusion of water from the reservoir to hypocentral depths. Decreased strength can arise from changes in either elastic stress (decreased normal stress or increased shear stress) or from decreased effective normal stress due to increased pore pressure. Pore pressure at hypocentral depths can rise rapidly, from a coupled elastic response due to compaction of pore space, or more slowly, with the diffusion of water from the surface.

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