WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Not since the British Army burned the White House has the nation’s capital faced such a threat from the Chesapeake Bay.
The land under the inlet is sinking, according to a survey led by the University of Vermont.
For the past 60 years, tidal gauges have shown the sea level of the Cheapeake has been rising at twice the average global rate.
Geologists theorized that a pre-historic ice sheet pushed the land up and that the land has been slowly settling since the ice melted.
The new research, based on extensive drilling in Maryland’s coastal plain, confirms this hypothesis, reports Science Daily.
The study projects that the ground level of Washington, D.C., could drop by six inches or more over the next century.
This could exacerbate problems as the general sea level of the planet rises.
The researchers note that the cause of the landfall is not man-made, but rather a long-term geological process that will continue for thousands of years.
“It’s ironic that the nation’s capital, the place least responsive to the dangers of climate change, is sitting in one of the worst spots it could be in terms of this land subsidence,” noted senior study author Paul Bierman, a University of Vermont geologist.. “Will the Congress just sit there with their feet getting ever wetter? What’s next, forebulge denial?”
The study is published in the Geological Society of America’s journal GSA Today.
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