“But what our research suggests that the sustained loss of the groundwater and the resulting upward flexing of the ground surface may also contribute to or even drive these changes in stress,” he said.

“The real importance of this research is that we are demonstrating a potential link between human activity and deformation of the solid Earth, which explains current mountain uplift and the yearly variation in seismicity,” Amos stated.

“Given the current drought and most projections for climate change in California and elsewhere in the Western U.S., groundwater depletion will likely continue, and so will these phenomena,” he continued.

Satellite data released earlier this year in an advisory report from the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling (UCCHM) at the University of California, Irvine showed the state’s water storage levels at a near decade low.

“The path of groundwater use that we are on threatens the sustainability of future water supplies for all Californians,” stated UCCHM researcher Stephanie Castle, who contributed to the report.

In addition to the threatening water supplies, the Nature study now adds worry that the unsustainable water use could mean more earthquakes as well.

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