Huge Weight of New York’s Skyscrapers May Cause Big Apple to Sink, Study Warns

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new york is sinking, skyscrapers, weight of buildings, sea-level rise, subsidence, university of rhode island, us geological survey, lower manhattan, brooklyn, and queens, downward pressure, buildings exert.

new york is sinking, skyscrapers, weight of buildings, sea-level rise, subsidence, university of rhode island, us geological survey, lower manhattan, brooklyn, and queens, downward pressure, buildings exert.

A study carried out last year that examined around 99 coastal cities in various countries discovered that “subsidence”, or sinking, might be a bigger threat in the future than the much-hyped climate-linked sea-level rise, with residents possibly facing flooding sooner than expected.

New York may become one huge, watery sinkhole, according to a dire forecast by a recent sudy.

The Big Apple, as the metropolis is also dubbed, boasts a striking skyline, with an array of some of the tallest buildings in the world, such as One World Trade Center, or Central Park Tower, but it is the combined weight of all these colossuses that may cause the city to collapse.

The low-lying city is sinking at a rate of 1-2 millimeters per year, according to collaborated research by oceanologists of the University of Rhode Island and a scientist from the US Geological Survey. Their findings have been published in the journal Earth’s Future. Furthermore, it was added that “some areas,” like Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, were seen to be “subsiding much faster.” The latter is the technical term used to describe the sinking.

As part of the study, the researchers calculated the weight of buildings and their contents in New York City, coming up with a hefty 764,000,000,000 kilograms. Afterwards, they split the city into 100-by-100-meter squares, and modeled the “downward pressure” that these buildings exert. The team took into consideration the geology and soil conditions in these areas, such as bedrock, sand, silt, and clay lake deposits. Elevation change was measured using satellite data. The result was quite alarming.

“The combination of tectonic and anthropogenic subsidence, sea level rise, and increasing hurricane intensity imply an accelerating problem along coastal and riverfront areas… Repeated exposure of building foundations to salt water can corrode reinforcing steel and chemically weaken concrete, causing structural weakening,” underscored the authors.

While the bedrock that many skyscrapers tower over isn’t vulnerable to sinking, substrates like clay and artificial fill all are. The point of the research was to draw attention to the fact that New York is highly exposed to future flooding. Already, a larger part of lower Manhattan ranged no more than 1 to 2 meters above sea level, clarified the study. The team referenced the devastation caused by the 2012 Hurricane Sandy, and Hurricane Ida in 2021, and warned that New York City ranked third in the world “in terms of future exposed assets to coastal flooding.” However, according to the scientists, and “90% of the 67,400 structures in the expanded post-Hurricane Sandy flood-risk areas have not been built to floodplain standards.”

“New York faces significant challenges from flood hazard; the threat of sea level rise is 3 to 4 times higher than the global average along the Atlantic coast of North America … A deeply concentrated population of 8.4 million people faces varying degrees of hazard from inundation in New York City,” geologist Tom Parsons of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and his colleagues at the University of Rhode Island said.

The team estimated that every future high-rise building erected in a “coastal, river, or lakefront setting” could “contribute to future flood risk.”

The Shell Norco manufacturing facility is flooded after Hurricane Ida pummeled Norco, Louisiana, U.S., August 30, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.02.2022

Coastal America to Face Fivefold Increase in ‘Destructive’ Floods by 2050, Report Warns





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