A new study has come to some worrying conclusions about our nation's capital -- it's sinking.
Is the capital of the United States disappearing before our very eyes? A new study says yes, and there may not be much that can be done about it.
New research from the University of Vermont as well as the U.S. Geological Survey and other institutions suggests that the land beneath the Washington D.C. region is dropping at a rate of 6 or more inches in the next century, according to a Huffington Post report.
That, combined with rising sea levels due to climate change, could spell doom for the capital of the United States. Scientists estimate that there has been about 8 inches in sea level rise in the last 130 years or so, and sea levels could increase another one to four feet by the end of this century.
The Chesapeake Bay region has a faster rate of sea level rise than any other part of the Atlantic post, rising at twice the average globally, based on tidal records.
So why is it sinking as well? Apparently, the land has been settling for quite a long time — ever since glaciers started retreated 20,000 years ago. This has created what is known as a “forebulge collapse,” which was described by one scientist in the report as like sitting on the edge of a waterbed, creating a bulge on the other side, and when one stands up that bulge goes back down. Once the glaciers left, the bulge that D.C. sits on is starting to reduce as well.
Obviously, scientists have known this has been happening for quite a while. But this research analyzes sediment records on Maryland’s Eastern Shore near Washington and has come to a more precise age of each layer.