It makes sense that water levels can rise and fall during an earthquake given that shifting can open up pockets in the earth or squeeze existing water up and out.
Whole lakes and rivers may be drained or flood their banks. Water in wells, buildings, and fountains may turn yellow, red, or black, and have the foul smell and taste of sulfur. The same can happen in natural bodies of water.
During the severely destructive Chilean earthquake of 1835, an entire harbor turned black.
A significant accompaniment to earthquakes, especially those that occur under oceans, are tsunamis, or seismic sea waves.
Out in the ocean, these waves can go unnoticed. They may be hundreds of miles (kilometers) long, but generally they are no higher than 3 or 4 feet (1 to 1.2 meters). When tsunamis reach land, however, they become extremely destructive forces.
The 1158 earthquake that hit London, England, caused the Thames River to dry up.