California is sinking even faster than scientists had thought, new NASA satellite imagery shows. Some areas of the Golden State are sinking more than 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) per month, the imagery reveals.
Though the sinking, called subsidence, has long been a problem in California, the rate is accelerating because the state’s extreme drought is fueling voracious groundwater pumping.
“Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records,” Mark Cowin, director of California’s Department of Water Resources, said in a statement. “As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly, and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage.”