Washington, D.C. could sink 6 inches over next century
A team of geologists led by Dr. Ben DeJong from the University of Vermont, recently published a study suggesting that Washington, D.C. could sink at least six inches over the course of the next century.
DeJong attributes the problem to a phenomenon called "forebulge collapse" which he explains with a somewhat sticky comparison:
"It's a bit like sitting on one side of a water bed filled with very thick honey," DeJong said, "The other side goes up. But when you stand, the bulge comes down again."
During the last ice age, a massive sheet of ice stretched as far south as Long Island, New York. The sheet was so heavy that it caused the land underneath what is now Washington, D.C. to bulge up.
But approximately 20,000 years ago, the sheet began to melt which means the elevated land the city was built on will sink back down. Now, the seat of government sitting on top of it is in danger of increased flood damage.
DeJong stressed the severity of the situation, "Six extra inches of water really matters in this part of the world."
The study was conducted by drilling holes in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Researchers used an assessment of the deep sediment around the Chesapeake Bay in addition to area mapping and models to make these determinations.