February 23, 2024

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New York City is slowly sinking under water, and geologists are sounding the alarm

New York City is slowly sinking under water, and geologists are sounding the alarm

New York City, already struggling with the problem of sinkholes linked to climate change, is gradually sinking under water due to the weight of its skyscrapers.

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That’s the conclusion of US Geological Survey (USGS) principal investigator and geologist Tom Parsons

More than 8 million people live in New York, which is sinking 1-2 mm per year as sea levels rise.

Urban subsidence can be caused by groundwater discharge, natural soil compaction, tectonic effects, diversion of normal sediment accumulation, and the weight of cities.

Getty Images via AFP

“New York faces significant challenges related to flood risk; the threat of sea-level rise is three to four times higher than the global average along North America’s Atlantic coast…a deeply concentrated population of 8.4 million people faces varying degrees of risk”, can we read? Report.

“Urbanization itself can exacerbate the problem; The cumulative pressure exerted on the ground by tall buildings contributes to subsidence by early primary settlement of ground compaction and reduction of void space.”

The study chronicles two recent tornadoes that killed people and caused extensive damage in the Big Apple to illustrate the dangers that await large urban centers, including the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.


“In 2012, Hurricane Sandy pumped seawater into the city, while heavy rains from Hurricane Ida in 2021 overwhelmed drainage systems due to overflow in the mostly paved city.”

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The report adds that New York City ranks third in the world “in terms of future assets exposed to coastal flooding.”

According to Parsons, projected sea level rise is a clear threat to coastal cities, “globally expected to rise by 200-600 mm by 2050.”