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The sinking city: study finds Beijing is falling by 4 inches a year

First Venice, now Beijing: according to a new study, China’s capital is sinking at a steady rate of up to four inches a year. 

For decades, Venice has been sinking at a rate of 2mm per year, whilst Shanghai also saw itself falling by 7 mm a year between 2010 – 2015, a figure which has since been reduced to 5 mm a year. Now Beijing seems to be sinking too! Explaining their findings to The Guardian, three researchers from the team which carried out the study warned that crucial infrastructure, such as Beijing’s high speed rail network, could be negatively affected.

The sinking is due to the drilling of thousands of water wells and excessive draining of the groundwater which has gathered beneath the city, leaving behind dried out soil which in turn compacts. The effect is seen most prominently in Beijing’s central business district, but the study warns that if the sinking continues it could have an impact on the over 20 million residents of the metropolis.

 IMG: 各种颜色的北京 / Beijing, colorful city / Пекин, красочный город, Nikolaj Potanin / Flickr cc.

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