New Orleans is sinking fast.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – It has been a few years since New Orleans is known as slowly sinking, but things might change from now on because geologists discovered the source of the problem.
Thanks to a radar technology, they learned that groundwater is sucked up by industrial facilities such as oil refineries, chemical complexes, and power plants.
This research aims to clarify a major problem that threatens the survival of a low-lying region. This region is now at the risk of being swallowed by the Gulf Mexico because of subsidence or gradual sinking.
The study recorded radar images for three years since June 2009 and July 2012. Researchers measured sinking between an inch and two inches per year. Compared with this, sinking in other regions in the city area was estimated around 1/10 of an inch to ¼ of an inch each year.
Furthermore, researchers concluded that the principal subsidence driver in major industry areas around New Orleans was groundwater withdrawal. According to Cathleen Jones, lead researcher on the study from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, these statistics point to a high correlation.
Plus, experts found critical subsidence around a 1960s New Orleans electric power plant in Michoud, a swampy area situated around 9 miles east of the French Quarter.
The sinking situation represents a huge problem for levee builders because it is a front line in the defense against hurricanes.
The images from the radar have shown sections of levees, rebuilt higher after the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Katrina, were subsiding by almost 2 inches a year. Plus, the nearby massive barrier which was built after Katrina, it’s worth $1.1 billion, 2 miles long and it’s designed to stop surges from hurricanes.
According to Rene Poche, spokesman for Army Corps of Engineers, the agency did not know about the information from the study. However, in its work after Katrina, the company accounted for projected subsidence.
Starting from the 1960s, the power plant has been using the groundwater for cooling purposes. According to Charlotte Cavell, an Entergy spokesman, the old plant will be deactivated starting from the 1st of June, even if the company wants to build a smaller power plant on the site.
Hopefully, in the future, New Orleans will not face these sorts of problems any longer.
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