The weight of the skyscrapers is sinking New York

The alarm raised in new research published in the journal Earth's Future said New York's buildings, which have a collective weight of 1.7 trillion pounds, equal to 140 million elephants, are sinking the city at a rate of 1 -2 mm per year

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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The weight of the skyscrapers is sinking New York

New York City is in danger of collapsing under the weight of its huge skyscrapers. This adds to this fear as well as the threat of flooding from rising sea levels and climate change. The alarm raised in new research published in the journal Earth's Future said New York's buildings, which have a collective weight of 1.7 trillion pounds, equal to 140 million elephants, are sinking the city at a rate of 1 -2 mm per year, which doubles in some areas.

Geologists explain that New York's subsoil is made up of different materials, from solid layers of shale to a mix of sand and clay. The most natural cause of subsidence is the compaction of the sediments on which a city rests when they are loaded with a load.

According to the analysis conducted by Tom Parsons, geologist of the United States Geological Survey, and his colleagues at the University of Rhode Island, the foundations of New York rise on a complex substrate that includes sand, mud, clay deposits and rock.

The weight of the skyscrapers is sinking New York

Tom Parson, the US Geological Survey geophysicist who led the research: "The softer the ground, the more the compression produced by the buildings occurs. It was a mistake to build these huge buildings in New York, but you have to keep in mind that when it builds something that then pushes the ground down a little bit more." Another research then points out that with New York many other coastal cities around the world will share this danger as the climate crisis worsens.

The combination of man-made tectonic subsidence, sea level rise and increased hurricane intensity causes problems to accelerate in coastal and riverine areas: "A densely concentrated population of 8.4 million people face various levels of flood danger in New York City." The water level around the city has risen 9cm since 1950 and by the end of the century severe flooding is expected to be four times more frequent than now due to a combination of this rise in water levels and increased hurricane strength again caused by climate change.