New York is sinking. The city is collapsing under its own weight

New York is the most populous metropolis in the United States. For years, residents have been hearing about the threat posed by rising sea levels. This is why coastal cities, such as the aforementioned New York and Boston, are preparing a strategy to deal with shoreline flooding. However, a new study by Rutgers University and NASA points to a new and equally serious problem. New York is sinking, the city is collapsing under its own weight

Nearly 1.1 million buildings are pushing against the ground. While melting glaciers are still the biggest threat, the collapsing ground is an equally important factor in urban flooding. Geophysicist Thomas Parsons, who works for the US Geological Survey, points out that on survey readings, the mass of Manhattan itself looks like there is a mountain range. Scientists mapped the city, wanting to determine the height and weight of each building. They found that New York City weighs nearly 764 billion kilograms. It is worth noting that the study took into account the weight of the buildings themselves, without the streets and supporting infrastructure

Thanks to the work carried out by experts, it has been possible to identify the areas of the city that are sinking fastest. It turns out that the less soil there is between the surface and the bedrock to be crushed, the lower the susceptibility to collapse. The study shows that the central part of Manhattan is close to bedrock. The Brooklyn shoreline, on the other hand, is much further away from bedrock. Works to artificially enlarge the city’s shoreline have contributed to this. Therefore, it is the coastal areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan that will sink faster

The question of a collapsing New York City leaves many unknowns. Scientists have only a smattering of data from recent decades. It is not known how construction 200 or 300 years ago, for example, affected the areas in question. The real boom in the construction of tall buildings began in the 20th century and continues today. What is known is that the city has been sinking at a rate of 1-2 mm per year over the past ten years

The studies mentioned are only the first steps in diagnosing this problem. The future of the almost 9 million inhabitants of the Big Apple is increasingly uncertain. However, this is not an exclusively New York problem. According to the United Nations, by 2050, the number of people living in cities will be double the number living in rural areas. Other major metropolises are often located close to large bodies of water. Therefore, the problem of sinking cities will affect more and more people

photos: Pixabay, public domain

source: Scientific American(, Rutgers University(

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