Quantitative calculations for the effect of a fault creep event on observations of changes in water level in wells provide an approach to the tectonic interpretation of these phenomena. For the pore pressure field associated with an idealized creep event having an exponential displacement versus time curve, an analytic expression has been obtained in terms of exponential-integral functions. The pore pressure versus time curves for observation points near the fault are pulselike; a sharp pressure increase (or decrease, depending on the direction of propagation) is followed by more gradual decay to the normal level after the creep event. The time function of the water level change may be obtained by applying the filter - derived by A.G.Johnson and others to determine the influence of atmospheric pressure on water level - to the analytic pore pressure versus time curves. The resulting water level curves show a fairly rapid increase (or decrease) and then a very gradual return to normal. The results of this analytic model do not reproduce the steplike changes in water level observed by Johnson and others. If the procedure used to obtain the water level from the pore pressure is correct, these results suggest that steplike changes in water level are not produced by smoothly propagating creep events but by creep events that propagate discontinuously, by changes in the bulk properties of the region around the well, or by some other mechanism.-Author
Additional publication details
Interpretation of changes in water level accompanying fault creep and implications for earthquake prediction.