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Fluctuations in long-term seismicity in response to changing water levels along one of the Earth's largest lakes
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  • Dongdong Yao,
  • Yihe Huang,
  • Liang Xue,
  • Yuning Fu,
  • Andrew D. Gronewold,
  • Jeffrey L. Fox
Dongdong Yao
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Yihe Huang
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Liang Xue
Syracuse University
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Yuning Fu
Bowling Green State University
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Andrew D. Gronewold
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Jeffrey L. Fox
Ohio Geological Survey
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The Great Lakes region is usually considered to be seismically inactive. However, earthquakes do occur around this region and may be related to stress changes caused by water level fluctuations. We perform a systematic template matching analysis of regional seismicity in 2013-2020 and calculate the Coulomb stress change caused by water loading. The new catalog reveals 20-40 M>0 earthquakes/year before 2019. The high seismicity rate in 2019 is dominated by active aftershocks following the ML4.0 Ohio earthquake. Given the limited number of earthquakes, neither seasonal pattern nor obvious increasing trend of seismicity with fluctuating water levels can be established. However, we cannot rule out the role of increasing water level in reactivating the faults that host the 2019 Ohio earthquake sequence. The lake loading induced stress change is found to increase with water level at low effective friction coefficient, with maximum positive stress change of ~0.2 KPa (µ = 0.2).