Wired - Matt Simon

Up and down the Atlantic Coast, the land is steadily sinking, or subsiding. That’s destabilizing levees, roads, and airports, just as sea levels are rising.

Unless you’re sinking into quicksand, you might assume that the land beneath your feet is solid and unmoving. In actual fact, your part of the world may well be undergoing “subsidence,” which is where the ground collapses as sediments settle or when people over-extract groundwater. New York City is sinking, too, due to the weight of all those buildings pushing on the ground. In extreme cases, like in California’s agriculturally intensive San Joaquin Valley, elevations have plummeted not by inches, but by dozens of feet.

Last year, scientists reported that the US Atlantic Coast is dropping by several millimeters annually, with some areas, like Delaware, notching figures several times that rate. So just as the seas are rising, the land along the eastern seaboard is sinking, greatly compounding the hazard for coastal communities.

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