We all know that sinking feeling. Well, this time Mississippi river bank is giving us that sinking feeling. The slowly sinking South Mississippi area is the new cartographer’s headache. The subsidence is proving the maps wrong.
People seemed to underestimate the problem in South Mississippi area. Geologists and cartographers thought this problem only existed in the South Louisiana. But, the Mississippi is below sea level and sea water is flowing in rapidly and mixing with the fresh river water. As a result you can see some salt water fish in fresh water.
According to Geologist Roy Dokka, the force of the river water keeps the salt water low. However, in this case:
when the river is low, its force is diminished, and salt water, which is heavier and denser than fresh water, flows underneath the fresh water and up the river
Kurt Shinkle, the Mississippi state adviser from the National Geodetic survey mentions:
Instability in the Earth’s crust has caused South Mississippi to sink about a foot in less than 40 years
This sinking of the South Mississippi causes yet another problem. Some of the salt water sips into the aquifer and contaminates the fresh water, making the water not suitable for drinking. Besides these problems, the bank is also sinking causing wreaking havoc in the construction industry of the area.
Why? Well, the home builders have to rely on the maps with exact elevation levels. If the elevations change, you can well imagine the problem. This means, that cartographers will have to create a system of maps where they can update the elevations on a regular basis. This is a pretty big task and next to impossible even with all the modern tools we have.
I think it’s best not to construct any more houses along the South Mississippi river bank area. This might be impossible since builders are running out of room. Anyway, the bottom line is the South Mississippi is sinking. There’s nothing much to worry about this except the fact that the maps are fast loosing all the previously accurate information.
Image credit: Boatnerd