Science & Tech

Discovery found in New York that could change the city's future

Discovery found in New York that could change the city's future
New York Is Ranked Most Expensive City in the World for the …

When most people picture New York City, it’s likely that its many skyscrapers are one of the first things that come to mind, but now, scientists are concerned that the city is sinking under their weight.

It comes after the findings of a new study observed subsidence of the footprint after the geology beneath the city was modelled and compared to satellite data.

The study was conducted by geologist Tom Parsons from the United States Geological Survey and colleagues from The University of Rhode Island, who found that, under the weight of its multiple skyscrapers, NYC is sinking by one to two millimetres per year.

Subsistence can occur due to shifting soft sediments and the sheer weight of the load on the ground pushing it down.


The study calculated that there are over 1 million buildings in NYC with a cumulative mass of approximately 764,000,000,000 kilograms.

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While a few millimetres of subsidence per year might sound like nothing, some parts of the city are subsiding faster – with calculations putting a sample site in lower Manhattan at 294 millimetres.

To calculate the rates of subsidence, experts compared their modelling with satellite data that measured the land surface height.

The scientists warn that thought must be given to low-lying cities such as NYC, which is home to 8 million people, particularly given rising sea levels and increasing flood risks.

Parsons explained: “The point of the paper is to raise awareness that every additional high-rise building constructed at coastal, river, or lakefront settings could contribute to future flood risk.”

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