Increasing sea levels and the melting of ice possible contributions to the change near D.C. as part of climate change.
(CNN) Washington, D.C., where the powers that reign over the United States reside, is sinking into the ocean.
Scientists predict that the land underneath the nation’s capital will drop more than 6 inches in the next 100 years, according to new research from the University of Vermont and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Surprisingly though, Washington’s sinking land is an entirely independent phenomenon from the rising sea levels, which scientists have attributed to climate changein the past.
For this study, researchers examined the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most rapidly subsiding and lowest-elevation surfaces, which borders the Chesapeake Bay.
The area is going through what geologists call a “forebulge collapse,” also known as the reason for many of Washington’s foreseeable geological woes. During the last ice age, a mile-high ice sheet pushed the land under the Chesapeake Bay region up. When the ice sheet melted 20,000 years ago, the bulging land began to settle back down.
“It’s a bit like sitting on one side of a water bed filled with very thick honey… when you stand, the bulge comes down again,” said former USGS geologist Ben DeJong, one of the lead authors on the study, who conducted the research at University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.
Researchers also built a 3-D portrait of the area’s post-glacial geological periods, which stretched back millions of years, and are confident of their model of the Chesapeake Bay region. Based on the data, researchers believe that the area is at an early stage of gradual sinking, a process that may last for many thousands of years.
DeJong urged that now is the time to start making preparations. “Six inches does not sound like much, but when you’re in a landscape like the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, that’s a lot of sea level rise,” he said in an interview with CNN. “I have worked alongside private land owners who have had family farms in the area for years and they are the first to tell you they are losing land.”
READ MORE: CNN.com
Article Courtesy of CNN
Picture Courtesy of Getty Images