If you live in Southern Louisiana that sinking feeling you’ve been having lately might not just be due to the poor economy. According to this CNN.com article, man’s triumph over nature is once again coming back to bite him in the ass.
Southern Louisiana is sinking—houses, cemeteries, roads and all.
While most of North America rests on bedrock, New Orleans and the surrounding area are built on Mississippi River silt. And the silt is slowly settling and compacting because of gravity.
The settling has been going on for ages, but the surface really began dropping fast during the 20th century because of man’s doing: The levees built to keep the Mississippi within its banks all but stopped the floods that used to lay down new layers of soil over the land.
By some estimates the drop caused by the compacting of the silt averages between 6 and 20 inches depending on where you are. Putting pilings in place to prop up buildings often requires drilling down to depths of 30 feet or more before hitting sand dense enough to do the job. Cracks in buildings, roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure are common occurrences and will probably only get worse as time goes on.
But hey, that’s what you get when you screw up a natural process in order to build homes. Got rid of the flooding, but now the ground is settling and making for one really nice bowl just waiting to fill up with water during a major hurricane. This is just a disaster waiting to happen and when it does, it’s gonna be expensive in both loss of life and money. Smart thing to do would be to move everyone out and restore the land to it’s natural state, but we won’t do that. Makes too much sense and is too much like admitting defeat versus mother nature. You can scratch Southern Louisiana off my list of possible places to move anytime soon, though.