Preseismic Changes of Water Temperature in the Yushu Well, Western China

  • Xiaolong Sun
  • Yang Xiang
  • Zheming Shi
  • Bo Wang


We observed abnormal changes of the water temperature in Yushu (YSWT) well, China, most of which were followed by earthquakes. This study statistically analyzes the correlation between the magnitude and duration of the anomalies in YSWT and earthquakes in the Tibetan block and its margins. The effectiveness of using observed YSWT data to predict earthquakes was quantitatively examined by the Molchan error diagram method. The results show that (1) the YSWT underwent several abnormal changes marked by “V”-shaped patterns, which might be related to several earthquakes that occurred in the Tibetan block and its margins. The extent and duration of the abnormal changes in the YSWT were linearly related to the magnitude of the earthquake; i.e., the higher the magnitude, the greater the change in the YSWT, and the shorter the duration. (2) Abnormal changes in the YSWT are somewhat predictive of earthquakes with magnitudes ≥5.5 (≥M5.5) within 800 km of the Yushu well and ≥M6.5 earthquakes in the Tibetan block and its margins. The prediction has a probability gain of approximately 2, and the most likely time period for an earthquake to occur is within approximately 3 months after the occurrence of an YSWT anomaly. Most of the anomalies in YSWT appeared before earthquakes in the thrust of block margins. Notably the larger strains from the earthquake did not produce any response. We speculate that the preseismic responses reflect the regional tectonics, such as the motion of the Indian plate, straining sub-blocks of the Tibetan block.


Preseismic changes Water temperature Yushu well Molchan error diagram 



We would like to thank the Guest Editor Michael Manga and the reviewers for their constructive comments which greatly improve the manuscript. The authors wish to thank the China Earthquake Network Center and the Qinghai Provincial Seismological Bureau for providing the water temperature and level data in the Yushu well. This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41502239, U1602233) and the Monitoring, Prediction and Research-combined Project of the China Earthquake Administration under (163102).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Crustal Dynamics, Institute of Crustal DynamicsChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.Earthquake Administration of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous RegionUrumqiChina
  3. 3.School of Water Resources and EnvironmentChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.China Earthquake Networks CenterBeijingChina

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