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Chicago is sinking
May 21, 2004 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Chicago is sinking at the rate of about a millimeter a year(or about 4 inches per century), and it's being caused by melting Canadian glaciers that cause the land to shift.
posted by geeknik (16 comments total)

 
Glaciers that melted 12000 years ago when the last ice-age ended. This is also happening in Europe, where scandinavia is slowly rising and more southern parts are slowly sinking.
posted by lazy-ville at 11:55 AM on May 21, 2004


Blame Canada!

(er, I'm Canadian, so please don't)
posted by lowlife at 12:13 PM on May 21, 2004


damn you, lowlife!

(uh, I'm not blaming you...you stole my joke, right down to the bit about being Canadian...)
posted by sharpener at 1:20 PM on May 21, 2004


I'm pretty sure that the south of England is sinking because of melting ice in the north of Scotland, too.
posted by reklaw at 1:34 PM on May 21, 2004


Chicago is sinking.

and this bad how?
posted by quonsar at 2:17 PM on May 21, 2004


and this bad how?

Spare a kind thought for the Art Institute, the Newberry Library, and the University of Chicago. Water damage to the books and paintings, and all that.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:19 PM on May 21, 2004


Chicago is sinking

On the upside maybe increasing our proximity to the Earth's molten core will make the winters more pleasant. Of course I couldn't afford to live here if the weather was nice year round.
posted by wfrgms at 2:21 PM on May 21, 2004


Interesting article. Chicago waterfront insurance rates have probably increased.

This quote sounds like trash talk.
>"All of Canada's going up. The U.S. is going down."
>Seth Stein, Northwestern Univ.

Interesting article referenced at the bottom geeknik's link: Man Honored For Averting Nuke War: Ex-Russian Military Officer Rightly Detected False Alarm In 1983. I forget how tense it was then.
posted by philfromhavelock at 3:25 PM on May 21, 2004


New Orleans has been sinking for years, but they're too drunk to give a damn.
posted by justgary at 3:26 PM on May 21, 2004


Chicago, "Venice of the Midwest."
posted by azul at 5:09 PM on May 21, 2004


No wonder I feel shorter.

Hope we take Michigan with us...
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:33 PM on May 21, 2004


Spare a kind thought for the Art Institute, the Newberry Library, and the University of Chicago.

it turns out chicago is NOT sinking. the shedd aquarium is merely expanding.
posted by quonsar at 4:07 AM on May 22, 2004


This is nothing.

Up in Alaska, houses built on permafrost have started to founder and drift around as that permafrost turns, suddenly very un-"perma", to mud.
posted by troutfishing at 7:17 AM on May 22, 2004


philfromhavelock: I was only 7 in 1983, but yeah, I remember the air raid drills in school. Definitely not a fun time.
posted by geeknik at 12:38 PM on May 22, 2004


Between 1855-1875 the city was raised out of the mud that it was built on. It has always been a city of engineering marvels, like when they changed the course of the river.

Speaking of rivers and New Orleans. The Control of Nature by John McPhee is a great source to understand the problem.

Here's a favorite quote from it:
In southern Louisiana, the bed of the Mississippi River is so far below sea level that a flow of at least a hundred and twenty thousand cubic feet per second is needed to hold back salt water and keep it below New Orleans, which drinks the river. Along the ragged edges of the Gulf, whole ecosystems depend on the relationship of fresh salt water, which is in large part controlled by the Corps. Shrimp people want water to be brackish, waterfowl people want it fresh—a situation that causes National Marine Fisheries to do battle with United States Fish and Wildlife while both simultaneously attack the Corps. The industrial interests of the American Ruhr beseech the Corps to maintain their supply of fresh water. Agricultural pumping stations demand more fresh water for their rice but nervily ask the Corps to keep the sediment. Morgan City needs water to get oil boats and barges to rigs offshore, but if Morgan City gets too much water it's the end of Morgan City. Port authorities present special needs, and the owners of grain elevators, and the owners of coal elevators, barge interests, flood-control districts, levee boards. As General Sands says, finishing the list, "A guy who wants to put in a new dock in has to come to us." People suspect the Corps of favoring other people. In addition to all the things the Corps actually does and does not do, there are infinite actions it is imagined not to do, and infinite actions it is imagined to be capable of doing, because the Corps has been conceded the almighty role of God.
posted by john at 4:15 PM on May 22, 2004


Hey, you can't say the Tragically Hip didn't try to warn you.

Like they said, New Orleans is sinking man and I don't wanna swim....
posted by orange swan at 8:04 PM on May 23, 2004


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