Nation’s capital sinking into the sea

Nation’s capital sinking into the sea

Geologic shift and rising sea levels will cause massive flooding in Washington DC

The land under the nation’s capital and the Chesapeake Bay is sinking rapidly and could drop as much as six inches by 2100, according to a report in the Economic Times.

Researchers from the University of Vermont are issuing a warning based on geologic drilling data on the coastal plain of Maryland.  The sinking of the land area, combined with rising sea levels due to melting ice and climate warming, will result in many historical areas and monuments being submerged in water.

Tide gauges show the Chesapeake levels have been rising for more than six decades and twice as fast as the overall word average.  The levels are also rising at a faster pace than the surrounding areas.

It has long been thought the land around Washington had been settling for centuries, after being pushed up by a prehistoric ice sheet to the north of the region.

This new study provides an estimate of the pace of the settling, and confirms the theory.  The data also confirms the drop is not primarily due to ground water retrieval or other human interference.

Scientists say a giant ice sheet, probably a mile high and reaching as far south as Long Island, applied so much weight upon the Earth the land south of the sheet was pushed up, creating a condition know as “forebulge collapse”.

About 20,000 years ago, the ice sheet began melting, removing the pressure, and the forebulge began to recede.  It has been dropping ever since.

The land will continue to drop for many years to come, and rising sea levels due to melting polar ice will accelerate the increase in water levels around the area.

Lead researcher Ben DeJong stated that now is the time to take some actions to reduce the rising levels.  He also commented six inches is a lot of water and it would really matter in this part of the world.



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