After the collapse of Miami, it became clear that South Florida was in danger


Rescuers work in the rubble of the Champlain Tanan apartment in Surfside.

Rescuers work in the rubble of the Champlain Tanan apartment in Surfside.
photo: Gerald Herbert (Associated Press)

On Thursday, a 12-story oceanfront apartment building north of Miami Beach collapsed. Kill at least four people Almost 160 are still missing. This may be a terrible sign for the future, especially when sea level rise destroys the foundations of South Florida.

Long before the Champlain Tanan apartment in Surfside crashed, the building began to sink. April 2020 Learn Found signs in the area Ground subsidence-Subsidence caused by natural phenomena such as tiankeng, which is exacerbated by human activities such as the exploitation of fossil fuels and groundwater.The author of the study Tell us today As early as the 1990s, the building was declining at a rate of 0.08 inches (2 mm) per year, although it is not clear whether this would necessarily lead to its terrible collapse.

Officials have only just begun investigating what caused the devastating crash of the building. More data is needed to determine what happened and the role of sinking (if any).

“At this point, any hypothesis is just a simple guess,” Henry O. Briceño, a professor of water quality and geology at Florida International University, wrote in an email. “We should wait for engineers to collect and analyze information.”

However, although the specific circumstances of the crash are still under investigation, it has been obvious that sea level rise and sinking threaten the infrastructure and people of South Florida for decades. Now is the time to deal with these risks, especially considering the situation in the region for decades to come. Sea level rise is expected to accelerate.A kind Report released last year It was found that Miami “faces the greatest risk of any major coastal city in the world” because of the large amount of expensive real estate and the people living in such vulnerable places. According to the report, by the 2070s, an estimated $3.5 trillion in real estate is at risk of being submerged. However, these buildings are not suitable for rising sea levels.

“While it is too early to determine the cause, it is definitely not too early to worry about how building and other infrastructure will be impacted as the flooding from sea-level rise worsens, and whether there is a plan to modify and sustain these buildings or whether they should ultimately be abandoned and removed,” Andrea Dutton, a geoscientist at the University of Madison Wisconsin and former associate professor of geology at the University of Florida, wrote in an email.

Buildings in Surfside and Miami Beach are constructed atop reclaimed wetland. Underpinning them is porous limestone, which forms the region’s geological base. As rising seas encroach on the area—whether from storm surge or Increasingly common sunny floods-Slightly salty, corrosive groundwater can be pushed up through the limestone, causing problems to the structure.

Briceño said: “If seawater seeps into the pillars and reaches the steel bars, it will oxidize, and the product will increase its volume and generate stress, which will crack the concrete,” and pointed out that the inspector investigating the collapse of Surfside “must check if something similar happened. .”

Regardless of whether these factors are a factor, they will definitely threaten infrastructure in the future.

Briceño said: “The structure will be affected by their undesigned conditions, such as being permanently under sea water.” “Concrete mixtures are designed to withstand the pressure they should bear, whether mechanically or chemically.

Sadly, Champlain Tower was 40 years of inspection should be carried out Soon, this may indicate that it is at risk of getting into trouble. Given that such a terrible threat is occurring, officials may have to consider conducting such inspections more frequently. Dutton worries that it may even be time to start moving people and infrastructure out of Surfside completely, and certain areas will also face this fate. As the sea level rises, it is already considering.

“One of my concerns is that if there is no plan to demolish such infrastructure, the urban hardscape will be flooded, and then our coastline will become a pile of concrete, metal and glass gravel,” she said.

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