The East Coast of the United States is slowly sinking into the Atlantic Ocean… This is all because of a study that took a lot of factors into account.. These will result to more frequent floods in the future.. Why does the East Coast have to die for everyone’s sins?
According to Forbes.com:
On average, the eastern seaboard sees 3 mm per year of higher seas, according to a recently published article in Nature’s Scientific Reports. The slow flooding of coastal communities has resulted in flooding during sunny and calm days. This flooding causes regular damage to houses, commercial buildings, and roads.
The first reason is due to post-glacial isostatic rebound. This is a fancy term for a simple process. During the last glaciation, much of the northern United States and Canada was under immense ice sheets. This ice weighed down on the continental crust, causing it to sink into the partially molten upper mantle. Imagine you’re in a swimming pool with a floating noodle and you push down on the center of the noodle (ice weighing down the continent).
On either side of where you pushed down, the noodle will pop up a bit to compensate for the load. This same process happens on Earth when it experiences a large heavy load such as a glacier. So the glaciers on the North American continent caused the east coast to pop up a bit due to the load. However, once the glaciers melt, the weight on the continent is removed and the edges fall back down. Similar to if you removed your hand from a noodle you’d notice the popped up portions on either side of your hand will move downward. This gradual and slow rebounding or lowering of the continent after being pushed up from a glacier is called isostatic rebound. This has resulted in the east coast of America to slowly but steadily sink relative to the Atlantic Ocean.
The second reason is much more simple. As humans use ground water in coastal communities we remove water underground that helps hold the surrounding sediment and rock up. Increasing removal of that water means the rock falls back on itself and sinks since there’s nothing to hold the rock up anymore.
The last reason is due to rising sea level from melting of land ice around the world, which flows into the oceans and increases the sea level.
These three factors have caused sea level to rise about 2 feet (60 cm) since the 16th century when most coastal communities were founded. All three factors aren’t likely to let up in the coming decades and centuries, which means the east coast of the US will continue to fall into the sea. Hence, we can expect more significant flooding events to occur regularly.