Friday, August 22, 2014

Parched West in Crusty Crisis

The millennium year 2000 didn’t wreak havoc over Earth as expected, but in the 14 years since, western states including California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are the driest they’ve been all century.

The extreme drought plaguing western America has become so severe it is causing the Earth’s crust to rise, leading to an half inch rise in some places, most dramatically beneath California’s mountains, where snow packs atop are already melting.

The weight of ground water keeps the Earth’s crust where it is, but about 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost since last year, according to GPS measurements by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Evaporation and use by people have played a big part, exacerbated by lack of rain. The amount lost would be enough to cover the entire United States west of the Rocky Mountains with a layer of water four inches deep.

There has been an average rise of one-sixth of an inch across the western region.

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