The Houston Chronicle reported that parts of Harris County, which contains Houston, have sunk between 10 and 12 feet (about 3 meters), since the 1920s, according to data from the US Geological Survey. Areas have continued to fall as much as 2 inches per year, an amount that can quickly add up.
The city of Lagos sits on the coast of Nigeria, constructed partly on the mainland, partly on some nearby islands. It’s also Africa’s most populous city.
Researchers said the cause of the sinking was depleting groundwater, similar to the situation in Jakarta and Houston.
Beijing, which is not a coastal city, relies heavily on groundwater as its main source of water. The water has been accumulating over many years, but its extraction has dried up the soil and caused it to compact — leading to the sinking.
Washington is one of the most important cities in the US — and it’s also sinking.
But unlike Jakarta, Washington’s sinking has nothing to do with aquifers or rising sea levels — it’s actually because of an ice sheet from the last ice age.
A mile-high ice sheet pushed land beneath the Chesapeake Bay upward. When the ice sheet melted, thousands of years ago, the land settled back down. The researchers now believe that the area is gradually sinking, a process that could last thousands of years.
But sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay are rising too, which could cause additional problems.