So the metropolis is built on a complex mix of materials like clay, silt, and artificial fill, which are more prone to subsidence, as well as sand and gravel, which tend to resist it.
The softer the soil is, the more likely its going to compress under load, says Parsons. Even if you dont build on it, it will still sink under its own weight.
And just last month, another team of researchers reported finding subsidenceup and down the East Coast, as high as 10 millimeters a year in parts of Delaware.
The primary way to cause dramatic sinking is the overextraction of groundwater, which is the case in Jakarta drained aquiferscollapse like empty water bottles.
Add up the million or so buildings in New York City, and you get something on the order of 1.7 trillion pounds of weight pressing on the earthand thats not even counting all the other infrastructure, like roads and sidewalks.