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Geoscience

Venice: sliding down, tilting east

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Although previous research had indicated that Venice had stabilized, an up-to-date study suggests that the city is still sinking — and even tilting slightly to the east.

Yehuda Bock at the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues combined Global Positioning System data from five stations in Venice and its lagoon from 2001 to 2011 with four years of data from space-based radar instruments. They found that Venice is sinking at a rate of 1–2 millimetres per year, with a general eastward tilt, and say that shifting tectonic plates and sediment compaction might be responsible.

The results may help the city to prepare for flooding caused by rising sea levels and seasonal tides.

Credit: M. SECCHI/CORBIS

Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011GC003976 (2012)

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Venice: sliding down, tilting east. Nature 483, 512 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/483512a

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