Sep 7, 2017 - Science

Houston may have sunk from Harvey rain

Charlie Riedel / AP

The rainfall from Hurricane Harvey may have caused Houston to sink by about 2 centimeters, according to Geophysicist Chris Milliner, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.

  • How it works: Water weighs one ton per cubic meter — that's about 275 trillion pounds from Harvey — and because the floodwaters were so widespread, the Earth's crust "flexed," according to GPS data, Milliner writes.
  • What's next: It will bounce back in an "opposite elastic response of the crust" since it should be a temporary drop, Milliner told the Houston Chronicle.
  • Go Deeper: There's already a sinking problem in Houston, per U.S. News & World Report.
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