According to a new report made public by Probe International, China's Sichuan earthquake (i.e. the one that killed roughly 80,000 people on May 12, 2008) was man-made.
Fan Xiao, the geologist who published this study linking the earthquake to human causes, reached this conclusion after analyzing about 60 studies carried out between the years 2008-2010 with respect to this catastrophic event.
As far as Fan Xiao is concerned, the main culprit behind the 2008 Sichuan earthquake was the Zipingpu dam reservoir, whose construction and working agenda destabilized the ground.
China Digital Times quotes a fragment of Fan Xiao's paper, which reads as follows: “The Zipingpu reservoir’s apparent triggering of the Wenchuan earthquake is an unprecedented case of reservoir-induced seismicity that presents huge challenges for scientific theory.”
Interestingly enough, several researchers suspected that this hydroelectric dam and its related reservoir were what caused the earthquake shortly after the catastrophe had taken place.
However, the country's officials chose to dismiss their theory, and argued that the earthquake's epicenter was too deep for it to have been caused by human activities.
“Could widespread and largely unchecked dam-building in China’s southwestern region, where the stress field area is large and high risk, as indicated by the UN’s Global Seismic Hazard maps, trigger RIS events that could in turn trigger larger regional earthquakes?” Fan Xiao asks in his study.
Furthermore, “Could this case of the Wenchuan tectonic earthquake, induced by a reservoir, still be defined as a traditional case of RIS, or must the science of RIS be redefined to anticipate the full consequences of dam building?”
The people who helped put together this study hope that their findings will convince the country's leaders that, prior to their giving the green light to large-scale development projects on rather vulnerable regions of China, it is necessary that extensive research be carried out so as to prevent such disasters from happening again in the future.