Venice Struggles to Stay Afloat

Venice continues to battle the very thing that created it.

In an interesting new article at the web site ars technica entitled, “Under pressure: raising Venice above water (using… water?)”, hydrogeologist Scott K. Johnson writes about a new plan to save the city from sinking.

According to Johnson,

Two factors are exacerbating the flooding risk to the city: global sea level rise and subsidence. In short, sea is rising and the city is sinking. Like other cities built on river deltas, the sediment beneath the city is compacting over time. In a natural setting, this compaction would be offset by the deposition of fresh sediment at the surface, but the rivers feeding the lagoon were diverted in the 1500s.

The Italian National Research Council is using seismic data collected from oil companies to research the possibility of injecting water into the compacted clay in order to lift it 25-30 centimeters over 10 years. This would, in turn, alleviate pressure on the gates of the MOSE Project, which were designed to close off Venice’s lagoon from the sea almost 10 years ago.




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