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Sinking City: Rising Sea Levels Threaten San Francisco

Jul 31, 2018 12:29PM

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A paper published in the journal Science Advances reports sea-level rise projections for San Francisco and the Bay Area in California that had not previously factored in a geological phenomenon called subsidence—the settling or sinking of the land.

When too much groundwater is pumped out of aquifers, the land on top sinks. In San Francisco, subsidence is occurring in areas developed atop artificial landfill and mud deposits. The area around the bay is in jeopardy of being underwater by 2100, and factoring in subsidence increases the projected amount of land underwater from 46 to 166 square miles, including half the runways at San Francisco International Airport.


This article appears in the August 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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