Mexico City is sinking fast and it can't be stopped

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Mexico City is a massive expanse of a city, and it's infamous for being the most populous metropolis in North America.

This massive city is sinking fast under its own weight, and has already sunk too low to be saved.

1. Show Mexico City in 1800s, small city, as it grows bigger, it sinks more and more
2. Continued, as city grows, it sinks more and more
3. Cutaway diagram of city, measuring line on side, aquifers visible under city, water pumps
4. Pumps suck water from aquifers into city, we see the aquifers dry up
5. As aquifers dry up, city crushes in from above, sinking gradually
6. Accelerated view of city growing from small town, sinking as size increases

VOICEOVER (in English):
A new study, published in the journal JGR Solid Earth, reports that Mexico City is sinking at an unstoppable rate, with some parts sinking up to 50 centimeters per year over the past few decades.

The massive city was built on a dry lake bed that contains water aquifers which have held up the city in the past.

But centuries of pumping water from these aquifers have made them so empty that the surrounding clay sheets are cracking and compressing.

If the rate of sinking continues, it would lead to the contamination of drinking water for the city's 21 million people.

More than three-quarters of the city's drinking water comes from wells that extract water from the ground and continue to deplete its aquifers.

Experts first noticed the sinking in 1900, when subsidence was recorded to be about 9 centimeters a year.

Drilling for groundwater wasn't capped until the late 1950s, by which time the city was sinking at a rate of 28 centimeters a year.

This cap initially slowed the rate of subsidence, but the sinking accelerated again as the city's population and buildings increased exponentially.

SOURCES: Science Alert, IFL Science,