Speed Reads


Houston apparently sunk 2 centimeters from Harvey's unprecedented rainfall

The massive amount of rain that Hurricane Harvey layered over Houston apparently caused the entire metropolitan area to temporarily sink by 2 centimeters, Chris Milliner, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, told the Houston Chronicle. "GPS data show that (the flood) was so large it flexed Earth's crust, pushing Houston down," Milliner said in a tweet earlier this week. A gallon of water weighs about 8.34 pounds and Harvey brought a record 51.88 inches of rain, making it plausible that the flooding would've weighed heavily on Houston — literally.

Milliner assured the Chronicle that this is just a "temporary drop" though. "Once floodwaters recede, we should expect a similar, but opposite elastic response of the crust, i.e., uplift," Milliner said in an email. "Similar to if you were to jump on and off your mattress."