Thu 01 Jun 2023 2:53 pm - Jerusalem Time

New York is sinking under the weight of its buildings

New York, dubbed "the city that never sleeps", faces sinking at a rate of one to two millimeters per year due to the weight of skyscrapers and tall buildings in it, according to a scientific study.

Scientists have known with certainty since Hurricane Sandy, which was recorded on October 29, 2012, that this giant city with unusual geographical features - the island of Manhattan is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the East River and the Hudson River - is subject to storms, floods and high coastal waves, which are climatic phenomena caused by about climate change.

In an article published in Earth Future in May, researchers attempted to assess the effect of the cumulative mass of a city's infrastructure on its subsidence, a phenomenon caused by soil erosion and human activities.

According to geologists' calculations, the weight of New York's buildings, towers and skyscrapers is 762 million tons, which represents an extraordinary pressure on the ground.

This volume is more than 75,000 times the size of the Eiffel Tower.

Under this enormous pressure, the cultural and economic capital of the United States, home to 8.5 million people, is sinking at a rate of 1 to 2 millimeters per year.

The study indicated that subsidence in some neighborhoods where buildings were built on softer or artificial lands could reach 4.5 millimeters annually.

The lead author of the study, Tom Parson, confirmed that building fewer concrete, glass or steel towers will not change the existing reality.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Parson, an American geophysicist, said, "The main cause of the subsidence of New York and the East Coast is related to the structure of the earth's crust and cannot be stopped."

This subsidence is expected to accelerate the effect of water level rise caused by climate warming and the melting of glaciers.
The Searise Level.com organization indicates that the water level in New York has increased by 23 centimeters compared to 1950, while the municipality expects it to rise by another 20 to 75 centimeters by 2050 and reach even 1.8 meters before 2100, in addition to an increase in the frequency of storms.

In light of all these facts, the fortification of 836 kilometers of New York coast has become a priority for its authorities.

A massive $20 billion "climate change adaptation" plan was launched in conjunction with efforts to protect the city from rising water levels.

The New York authorities in southern Manhattan, between the East River and one of the highways, are building a wall and dams, while increasing green areas over a length of four kilometers, as the water level rose due to Hurricane Sandy more than ten years ago to 2.7 meters.


Share your opinion

New York is sinking under the weight of its buildings