A new study has found that the ongoing drought in California has led to the rising of mountains by up to 15 millimeters.
The researchers behind the study said that the drought conditions have caused loss of water which in turn has rose the level of land. They explain water levels have lost to such an extent that the remaining fails to exert the required pressure on the land, leading it to its rise.
The study was conducted by the researchers at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in the University of California, San Diego. These researchers have for the first time measured the amount of groundwater and surface lost in droughts, like the one in California.
A shocking 240 gigatons of water has been lost till date due to the droughts in California.
Notably, about same amount of water is lost every year by the melting ice sheet in Greenland.
The west on a whole has increased in total by 3.98mm since early 2013.
Seismologist Klaus Jacob from Colombia University termed elastic compression as the reason behind the rising ground levels.
“Groundwater is a load on the crust of the Earth, a load compresses the crust elastically due to which it subsides. When you take that load away (by the drought) the crust decompresses, leading to rise of the surface,” said Jacob, who was not the part of the study.
While assessing data from GPS stations, the researchers noted that all the stations had risen since 2003. Last year had been most significant as the most movement occurred in that period. And the condition worsens in 2014 due to the droughts.
“The implications of this have yet to play out, What we’ve shown is that there is a measurement technique we can use to get a total water loss — water loss in places where we have no direct measurements,” said study co-author Duncan Agnew, who is a professor at Scripps.
The findings of study have been published in the journal Science.