Beijing and China are sinking under the weight of their skyscrapers

According to a recent study, the ground is literally giving way under the weight of infrastructure

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Beijing and China are sinking under the weight of their skyscrapers
© Kevin Frayer / Stringer Getty Images News

According to a new study published on Science, Beijing and China in general are sinking under the weight of their skyscrapers and infrastructure.

Satellite surveys have calculated that 16% of the area that the researchers examined in their study is sinking at more than 10 mm per year. 45% sank more slowly, by 3 mm per year.

The weight of infrastructure and skyscrapers has played a fundamental role in this, as has the depletion of groundwater and mining. Beijing, Fuzhou, Hefei and Xi'an run - in the coming years - a real risk of seeing their land weaken under the weight of all these critical issues.

Beijing
Beijing© Kevin Frayer / Stringer Getty Images News
 

Not only. According to the authors of the study, 25% of the Chinese coast is also at risk in the coming decades, which could sink below sea level.

The study took into consideration 82 Chinese cities all with a population of over 2 million inhabitants, examining an overall period between 2015 and 2022.

China is sinking under the weight of their skyscrapers, and not only

The depth of the bedrock of Chinese cities would be at risk, as mentioned, due to the depletion of aquifers and the weight of buildings.

The study authors explained: "Of the urban land examined, 45% are subsideting faster than 3 millimeters per year, and 16% at rates faster than 10 millimeters per year, affecting 29% and 7% respectively. of the urban population."

Beijing
Beijing© Kevin Frayer / Stringer Getty Images News
 

Robert Nicholls of Tyndall's Center for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (not an author of the study), told about the issue:

"These new findings highlight the need for a national response to address the threat of subsidence, a problem that exists outside of China and is increasingly widespread around the world. Subsidence jeopardizes the structural integrity of buildings and infrastructure critical and exacerbates the impacts of climate change in terms of flooding, particularly in coastal cities, where it reinforces sea level rise."

Particularly affected are Beijing (with a record lowering of the ground) and Shanghai, which risks sinking below sea level.