The pumping of groundwater changed the tilt of the land

about the episode

Between 1993 and 2010, we humans would have pumped two trillion tons of water from groundwater sources alone. According to the researchers, one consequence of this is that the geographic North Pole is moving at more than 4 centimeters per year.

The tilt of the axis around which a space object, such as a planet, rotates is generally stable. However, things can happen that affect this axis, including when it comes to Earth. In principle, anything moving on the surface with significant mass can have an impact.

Like, for example, the weather. In this case, the change between seasons shifts the mass of the atmosphere. This causes the Earth’s geographic poles to shake several meters each year.

Moving water masses can also cause changes. This can happen, for example, when ice caps melt. But when researchers investigated this phenomenon, it turned out that this does not fully explain the effect of water. Changes in surface waters didn’t solve the mystery either.

When they reached the underground tanks, the pieces fell into place. Groundwater pumping, which has been done massively, especially in northwestern India and western North America, sent so much mass into the ocean between 1993 and 2010 that it raised global sea levels by more than 6 millimeters.

When they included groundwater mass displacement in their models, they reasoned that this alone should have a significant effect and that we’re pumping the Arctic more than 4 centimeters toward Russia’s Novaya Zemlya islands every year.

Read more about the search here: The rampant groundwater pumping has changed the tilt of the Earth’s axis.

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Megan Vasquez

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