California Land Mass Rising as Water Dries Up

California Land Mass Rising as Water Dries Up

California has suffered the loss of 63 trillion gallons (or 240 gigatons) of water in the past 18 months, which has resulted in the ground literally rising by an average of .15 inches since last year.

The lack of water has also resulted in the movement of California’s mountains, where the uplift has been most pronounced. According to the journal Science and the Washington Post, the mountains have risen as high as half an inch.

As California’s drought continues to hit the Golden State, it’s reservoirs have also been affected. The drought has left one of California’s largest reservoirs, Lake Oroville, looking parched – in stark contrast to it’s appearance just three short years ago in 2011. The Post notes that Lake Oroville, as of last week, is only operating at 32 percent of its capacity.

Keeping in mind that 63 trillion gallons (or 240 billion tons) of water is very heavy, in conjunction with the fact that land is porous by nature, the disappearance of such a great amount of water has alleviated pressure on the land upon which it rested before, resulting in a greater porosity of that land. 

This has caused the land to rise and has produced a startling variance in the appearance of places such as Lake Oroville. Some before and after images comparing the reservoir from 2011 and 2014 can be seen by clicking here.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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