Sinking towns - there is a principle with it - also salvation is a principle

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Sinking towns - there is a principle with it - also salvation is a principle

Bangkok, Shanghai, Mexico City: spongy soil does not accept heavy stony houses or skyscrapers (mud and silt) - construction of neighboring metropolis on safe soil - groundwater abuse -- conversion of mud zones into fertile agricultural zones - and also Venice consisted of wooden houses first - sinking Venice also consisted in wooden houses first - sinking locations on defreezing permafrost soil

People building a town in a swamp (here
                          Aapa mire in Finland)...
People building a town in a swamp (here Aapa mire in Finland)... [13]
... don't have to wonder when the town
                          will sink when also the groundwater is used
                          and reduced (here: Shanghai)
... don't have to wonder when the town will sink when also the groundwater is used and reduced (here: Shanghai) [2]

by Michael Palomino (2013)

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1  Sinking towns on swamp, silt or mud or on poles at a coast line

We have
-- sinking Shanghai (in China) - built on an alluvial fan of silt in the Yangtze delta, sinking 8.7 mm each year
-- over 50 sinking towns in China - all built on soft soil with sky scrapers and pulling out groundwater
-- sinking Bangkok (in Thailand) - built on a swamp at the mouth of Praya River, sinking 5 to 8 or partly also 10 cm each year
-- sinking Mexico City (in Mexico) - built in a dried lake on mud soil, stony buildings are sinking into the muddy soil and also the whole town is sinking
-- sinking Venice (in Italy) - built on poles at a coast line, sinking 2 to 3 mm per year.

First the town all had only wooden houses and nothing was sinking then.

Since 100 years there are stony houses, and since 50 years there are skyscrapers and heavy concrete buildings, and now the towns are sinking because the houses are too heavy for the spongy soil (silt, swamp, mud). And pulling groundwater out is even accelerating this process. Reservoirs and lakes and purification plants on rivers are missing for a proper water supply without pulling out groundwater.

And since about 10 years always more and more locations in polar regions are sinking where permafrost ground is unfreezing (Russia, Canada, Alaska, China).

Let's see the details:

2  The case of sinking Shanghai

Shanghai, this is the skyline of a
                            sinking city
Shanghai, this is the skyline of a sinking city [1]
Shanghai was built in a swamp on a soft
                            ground which is not withstanding all the
                            heavy skyscrapers any more, and also
                            groundwater is used and reduced even
                            accelerating the sinking process of the
Shanghai was built in a swamp on a soft ground which is not withstanding all the heavy skyscrapers  any more, and also groundwater is used and reduced even accelerating the sinking process of the town [2]
Districts of Shanghai on a map. Most of
                            the skyscrapers are built in Pudong
Districts of Shanghai on a map. Most of the skyscrapers are built in Pudong District [3]

Shanghai is built on silt, and this is really not a stable ground. Wikipedia says (
<Shanghai is situated in a big delta at the mouth of Yangtze River at the East China sea. The whole lowland at both sides of the river consists in dark, loess free alluvial soil which was built by the sedimentation of Yangtze River. The plain consisting of silt is parted by canals and dams and is one of the most fertile regions of China and at the same time a main deliverer of cotton.>
(orig. German:
<Shanghai liegt in einem großen Delta, das der Jangtsekiang bei seiner Mündung in das Ostchinesische Meer bildet. Das gesamte Tiefland zu beiden Seiten des Stromes besteht aus dunklem, lößfreiem Alluvialboden, der von den Sedimenten des Jangtse gebildet wird. Die aus seinem Schlick aufgebaute, von Kanälen und Dämmen durchzogene Ebene des Deltas ist eines der fruchtbarsten Gebiete Chinas und gleichzeitig sein Hauptbaumwolllieferant.>)

German TV station ARD reported on 23 September 2005 in teletext on shield Nº 160 with the title "Shanghai sinking in the mud" (Shanghai versinkt im Morast) that this town would sink 8.7 mm each year:
<China's metropolis of Shanghai is sinking slowly into the muddy underground. In 2004 the 16 million town had sunk by 8.7 millimeters, the daily news "Shanghai Daily" reported corresponding to geologic investigations. Experts say that the weight of this town with many skyscrapers is too high for the alluvial ground.

But at least the sinking tempo has reduced. In 2003 there had been 10.4 mm yet. When the town will sink 10 mm each year experts calculate that the town will be on sea level in 40 years.>

(orig. German: <Chinas Metropole Schanghai versinkt langsam im morastigen Untergrund. 2004 sei die 16-Millionen-Einwohner-Stadt um 8,7 Millimeter abgesackt, berichtete die Zeitung "Shanghai Daily" unter Berufung auf geologische Untersuchungen. Experten zufolge ist das Gewicht der Stadt mit ihren zahlreichen Wolkenkratzern zu hoch für den Schwemmland-Boden.

Immerhin habe sich das Sink-Tempo abgeschwächt. 2003 waren es noch 10,4 Millimeter. Sollte die Stadt jährlich 10 mm sinken, wird sie nach Expertenberechnungen in 40 Jahren auf Meeresspiegel liegen.>

This news about sinking Shanghai is not a "fly-by-night" (not a dayfly) but there are more news about sinking Shanghai. For example there is a report in the review of "Science" of 21 May 2012 with the title "Soaring to Sinking: How Building Up Is Bringing Shanghai Down":

There are 3 factors for sinking Shanghai: 1  sinking town on a soft ground; 2 groundwater is pulled out; and 3  rising sea level.
<Thanks to mass urban migration, soft soil and global warming, Shanghai is sinking, and has been for decades. Since 1921, China’s most populous city has descended more than 6 ft.>
The sea is already there:
<"If you look at Shanghai during high tide, you can see the water level is higher than the streets but separated by the wall,” Li says. [...] He is especially worried about severe flooding in the coastal areas, where the majority of Chinese migrants have settled.>
And an important factor of the sinking of Shanghai is pulling out of ground water:
<By 1900, the population had tripled to more than 1 million. People started consuming more groundwater than the overlying turf could handle, and the problem worsened dramatically. By the 1950s and early ’60s, the area started sinking 4 in. per year. The pace slowed after 1963, when the government banned a significant number of wells. To take further precaution, the government also began pumping water back into underground reservoirs. Every day, Shanghai is redirecting 60,000 tons of water through 121 wells, China Daily reported. Even with these restrictions in place, the city has descended 16 in. in the last 50 years.>
Groundwater is pulled out and the weight of the skyscrapers are bringing down the town:
<The only way to really solve the problem is to reduce — or better yet, stop — groundwater pumping. Another option is to decrease the density of buildings, which would mean fewer heavy skyscrapers, perhaps an unrealistic solution for China’s rapidly growing cities.>

Well, in Shanghai were wooden houses first of course and nothing was sinking, but Chinese big capital is building skyscrapers there since decades in the muddy soil. Wikipedia tells us (
<The historical center mainly has yielded to new buildings and the rest is only a tourist attraction and nothing more. At the same time the construction of skyscrapers is driven on and on during 24 hours.>
(orig. German: <Der historische Kern ist weitgehend Neubauten gewichen und nur noch als Touristenattraktion vorhanden, während der Bau von Wolkenkratzern bei 24-stündiger Bautätigkeit zunimmt.>
And precisely in this muddy ground of Shanghai the highest buildings of whole China are built, tells us Wikipedia (
<Most of the skyscrapers are erected in Pudong where also the Shanghai World Financial Center is situated which reached it's final height with 492 meters and 101 floors on 14 September 2007. Thus this building is higher than Jin Mao Tower next to it (421 meters) and Oriental Pearl Tower (468 meters), and therefore it is the highest building of whole People's Republic of China and (after Burj Khalifa and Taipei 101) it is the third highest building of the world. In these times (2011-2014) there is an ever higher skyscraper under construction with the name Shanghai Tower.>

(orig. German:
<Die meisten Wolkenkratzer werden in Pudong errichtet, dort steht auch das Shanghai World Financial Center, das am 14. September 2007 seine Endhöhe von 492 Meter mit 101 Stockwerken erreichte. Damit ist das Gebäude höher als der daneben stehende Jin Mao Tower (421 Meter) und der Oriental Pearl Tower (468 Meter), und somit das höchste Gebäude und Bauwerk der Volksrepublik China und (nach dem Burj Khalifa und dem Taipei 101) das dritthöchste Gebäude der Welt. Derzeit (2011–2014) wird ein noch höherer Wolkenkratzer, der den Namen Shanghai Tower tragen wird, gebaut.>)
Well, these skyscrapers are always sinking and therefore the town's government has given new rules and skyscrapers have to have long "legs" now, as the English Wikipedia article says (
<The city's location on the flat alluvial plain has meant that new skyscrapers must be built with deep concrete piles to stop them from sinking into the soft ground.>

Well, Shanghai will be on 0 meters over sea level in 2045, and it seams this town is guilty for itself. The responsibles wanted to have a Chinese New York and in their eagerness they did not respect any fact about the soft soil as it seems.

Why for goodness' sake the economic strategists are erecting heavy concrete skyscrapers in the silt? It's very simple: The strategists do not take earnest any nature. But the soil of Shanghai with it's silt is absolutely inappropriate for the construction of heavy skyscrapers. There should be built a neighbor metropolis on safe soil as fast as possible.

Since the 1980s over 50 cities are sinking in China

Up to the 1980s Shanghai was the only sinking town in China. But since the 1980s there are over 50 towns sinking in China, always by the same reasons: too many heavy buildings and skyscrapers on soft soil and pulling groundwater out, see the news "Soaring to Sinking: How Building Up Is Bringing Shanghai Down" from "Science" from 21 May 2012 (
<Shanghai may have had this problem before the 1950s, but it didn’t start emerging in other cities until the early ’80s. Now more than 50 cities across the country face sinking problems, according to a report by the China Geology Survey. Three regions in particular have “serious land-subsidence problems,” including the Yangtze River delta area, the Fenhe River–Weihe River basin and the North China Plain. According to CCTV, Cangzhou, a city in north China’s Hebei province, has descended nearly 7 ft. In 2009, the city had to demolish a three-story building housing a branch of the city’s People’s Hospital because the first level sank so low that it fell underground.>
The measures are always the same:
Point 1: Heavy buildings and skyscrapers have to be built where the ground is stable; and:
Point 2: A good water supply is needed with reservoirs and lakes so no groundwater has to be pulled out.

Eventually a neighboring metropolis is needed on a safe ground, or neighboring towns can be enlarged.

Towns on the beach are additionally affected by rising sea level and groundwater will be salted and uneatable. When a town is on the beach under 0 meters, sea water is also pushing forward (by water pressure) and can dissolve the whole muddy ground. Therefore it's absolutely important to realize the first two measured BEFORE a town has got the tendency to sink to 0 meters.

3  The case of the sinking town of Bangkok

The mega city
                                    of Bangkok with it's Praya River was
                                    built on the ground of a swamp...
The mega city of Bangkok with it's Praya River was built on the ground of a swamp... [4]
... and
                                    skyscrapers and the exceeded use of
                                    groundwater provoke that the town is
... and skyscrapers and the exceeded use of groundwater provoke that the town is sinking [5]

Map of Bangkok at the sea [6]. When the
                            town sinks under 0 meters the groundwater is
                            in danger of being oversalted. And if the
                            swampy soil can withstand the sea is one
                            more question. This also counts for
Map of Bangkok at the sea [6]. When the town sinks under 0 meters the groundwater is in danger of being oversalted. And if the swampy soil can withstand the sea is one more question. This also counts for Shanghai...

Pulling out groundwater at the same town provokes that the town is even sinking faster. Therefore Bangkok is sinking 5 to 8 or even 10 cm each year and Venice "only" about 2 to 3 mm each year.

In 2012 German speaking newspaper "Wochenblitz" meant in a general report that there would be new satellite measuring and sinking Bangkok had been underestimated massively and from 2020 on Bangkok will be flooded:
<Bangkok - Since the unfriendly results of the scientific investigation which was published in December 2010 it is for sure that Thailand's capital with it's continuing sinking process has to calculate being flooded by the sea in 2020.>
(orig. German: <Bangkok - Spätestens seit den unerfreulichen Ergebnissen einer wissenschaftlichen Langzeitstudie, die im Dezember 2010 bekanntgegeben wurde, steht fest, dass Thailands Hauptstadt aufgrund der fortschreitenden Bodensenkung ab 2020 damit rechnen muss, vom Meer überflutet zu werden.>

There is another report from 15 August 2012 from Thailand Nang Rong with the title "Bangkok always sinking more and more" (orig. German: "Bangkok sinkt immer tiefer") ( where is clearly said that Bangkok is sinking 10 cm per year and some parts of Bangkok are even under 0 m and therefore under sea level. And: Bangkok was built arbitrarily on a swamp:
<By strategical reasons for a better defense against enemies the town was built in the deep swampland.>
(orig. German: <Aus strategischen Gründen, zur besseren Verteidigung gegen Feinde bauten sie die Stadt im tiefliegenden Sumpfland.>)

<But industries in Bangkok and the enormous rising number of population are pulling always more groundwater out covering the needs.>
(orig. German: <Aber durch die in Bangkok angesiedelte Industrie und die enorm gestiegene Einwohnerzahl wurde ständig mehr Grundwasser hochgepumpt, um den Bedarf zu decken.>

<All buildings in this sinking town of Bangkok are on stable poles, also the skyscrapers. The poles are driven into the soil until they have contact with the firm clay layer. But it seems that there is no other possibility to deliver water to industries and population. Therefore unimaginable quantities of water are pulled out provoking the sinking of the town]. The weight of the buildings is additionally pressing water out of the clay layer and all firm layers loose their loading capacity.>

(orig. German: <Alle Gebäude in der versinkenden Stadt Bangkok werden auf stabilen Pfählen gebaut, auch die Hochhäuser. Die Pfähle werden in den Boden getrieben bist sie auf eine feste Tonschicht stossen. Scheinbar gibt es keine andere Möglichkeit, Industrie und Einwohner mit ausreichend Wasser zu versorgen. So werden weiterhin unvorstellbare Mengen Wasser abgepumpt. Durch das Gewicht der Bauten wird zusätzlich Wasser aus der Tonschicht gedrückt und die festen Schichten verlieren an Tragkraft.>)

Certain parts of Bangkok are under 0 meters today already:
<Some of the districts are under sea level already today.>
(orig. German: <Einige Stadtviertel liegen schon Heute unter dem Meeresspiegel.>)

<According to latest calculations Bangkok is sinking 10 cm per year. Since Bangkok is only 2 m over sea level everybody can calculate when Bangkok is sinking definitely.>
(orig. German: <Nach neuesten Berechnungen sinkt Bangkok jährlich um zehn Zentimeter. Da Bangkok eh nur noch etwa zwei Meter über dem Meeresspiegel liegt, kann sich jeder ausrechnen, wann sie endgültig versinkt.>)
According to the Wikipedia article about Bangkok the industries of Bangkok are even authorized for pulling out much groundwater (
<Many factories in the region of the metropolis - also many in the residential zones - are authorized to have their own wells for their water supply and therefore this pulling out of groundwater is contributing to a continuous sinking of groundwater level.>

<Ground water level is sinking much faster by the risen consumption.>

(orig. German: <Zahlreiche Fabriken in der Metropolregion – darunter auch in vielen Wohngebieten – dürfen eigene Brunnen zur geregelten Wasserversorgung errichten, was zu einem kontinuierlichen Absinken des Grundwasserspiegels beiträgt.>

<Der Grundwasserspiegel sinkt durch den gestiegenen Verbrauch immer schneller.>)

4  Strategies for Bangkok: stopping pulling out groundwater at once - construction of reservoirs for water supply - new metropolis on a safe soil

In any case pulling out of ground water should be stopped immediately, and also a system of water reservoirs should be built immediately and express (urgent!), and there should be a new metropolis on a safe ground (e.g. enlarge Chonburi) and the population, factories and institutes should be shifted to the safe ground so there will not be a catastrophe in about 10 years with constant flood, epidemics, dysfunction of canalization and mass flight - because when this happens all have go to in one time.

Factories should be shifted on a safe soil and should have a water supply "from above" with water reservoirs and lakes or with rivers so the groundwater has not to be touched.

Well, and now nobody has to be angry, but sinking towns really only is a bad luck, really a bad luck. In the case of Shanghai everybody knows it, and in the case of Bangkok everybody knows it since 20 years. And it seems a little bit strange that nobody has found this world wide principle shifting towns and winning best agricultural soil.

5  Reaching 0 meters the groundwater will be salty and oversalted

When a town is completely on 0 meters over sea level there is not only the threat of permanent floods and dysfunction of the canalization with epidemics and mass flight, but also the groundwater is in danger being oversalted. There is the example of the islands of Micronesia in Southern Sea where groundwater is already oversalted and uneatable as the article of shows us clearly with the title "Rising sea level oversalting groundwater" (orig. German: "Steigende Meeresspiegel versalzen das Grundwasser":
<Island groups like Micronesia are in danger being sunk in the rising sea. The precursors of this threat is already here: Groundwater is oversalted and drinking water is scarce. [...] By the rising sea level salty water is mingling into the groundwater. Thus drinking water deposits are uneatable and also agricultural irrigation is more and more difficult. The soil is also oversalted and cannot be used for years.>

(orig. German:
<Inselgruppen wie Mikronesien drohen in den steigenden Weltmeeren zu versinken. Die Vorboten der Bedrohung sind schon heute spürbar: Das Grundwasser versalzt und das Trinkwasser wird knapp. [...] Durch die steigenden Meere mischt sich Salzwasser ins Grundwasser. Die Trinkwasser-Vorräte werden so ungenießbar und die landwirtschaftliche Bewässerung immer schwieriger. Die Böden versalzen und sind damit oft auf Jahre unbrauchbar.> )
How groundwater has been formed? And how the groundwater system in the ground is working which one cannot see?

Earth does not consist only of stones and sand, but there are also many caves and underground waterways in the ground. In these underground and partly giant caves the rain water is accumulated which is coming from the rain passing the porous soil, above all during floods of meadows and fields. These caves filled with water are called "groundwater". When the soil remains porous, then the rain or floods are filling the groundwater again and again. It can also be that the groundwater is filled again by natural underground waterways.

When humans are building towns now and are pulling out more groundwater than rain water, flood water or underground water comes in, then the groundwater level is sinking. When the ground is covered with houses and streets, and when there are no lawns or meadows any more, then no rain water can penetrate the ground any more and the groundwater is sinking faster. When the soft ground is covered with heavy skyscrapers and other heavy concrete buildings, then the soft ground is sinking WITH THE GROUNDWATER LEVEL - and the town is sinking rapidly. It seems that this process is hardly or not at all presented in the school books in the world, and thus policy above all in Asia does not know about it. And policy in Asia also never did publish this problem in great style because children in Asia are educated according to the Asian mentality not to speak about problems.

When in locations without rain - for example in the desert - groundwater is pulled out, then the groundwater levels also will sink when the groundwater is not filled up again by natural underground waterways.

And when a town on the sea with it's groundwater is sinking under sea level under 0 meters, then the sea water will push forward to the groundwater salting the groundwater.

Therefore there is only one conclusion: One has to omit by all means withdrawal of ground water, and other systems for water supply of the big towns and for the industries have to be installed: lakes, reservoirs, or purification plants on rivers. In big parts of Europe this is made already, in Asia not much. In Arab territories desalination plants were partly installed so the ground water is not touched any more. A desalination plant is a purification plant taking out the salt of the sea water in huge quantities producing drinking water.

6  Historians were NEVER interested in sinking towns, for the reasons and for counter strategies

It seems that before my presence in Thailand NEVER ANY historian was interested in this topic of the sinking towns really and never did find this principle of the sinking stony houses on muddy soil and never was really investigating it propagating a solution. That means: Is seems that European historians principally talented in analytic thinking NEVER have really taken earnest the populations of these sinking towns. They never tried something out, they never were looking for solutions, but they have rapidly left the sinking towns never saying anything - Mexico City, Shanghai, or Bangkok, or Venice.

36 stratagems: number 37 is missing: "To change on a safe ground - or install water supply from outside"

In China there exist "36 stratagems" which are attributed to Mr. General Tan Daoji. These stratagems are basic military tactics. But there is one tactic missing, the tactic against sinking towns. Thus I come to the conclusion that there is missing stratagem number 37 "To change on a safe ground - or install water supply from outside":

"Stratagem Nº 37: When a town is sinking because of pulling out too much ground water then this town is on a clay layer and the region is not appropriate for big towns and according to the conditions the population has to be evacuated to a safe ground until the town is not sinking any more - or drinking water and industrial water supply have to come from other regions or from normal waters which have to be kept clean."

As it seems this wisdom is missing in Chinese population and in Chinese general staff. Thus this text could be added as a stratagem Nº 37. In the case of Beijing the authorities are already diverting half a river, but then 49 sinking towns are remaining yet...

The same counts for Bangkok in Thailand.

"To change on a safe ground - or install water supply from outside" is an important strategy with sinking towns evading doom.

Early times: light wooden houses and boiled river water as drinking water

In the times of Mr. General Tan Daoji there were no sinking towns yet because in those times the houses were light wooden houses yet and ground water was not touched yet. River water after boiling was drinking water - which today is not possible in China any more. The strategists meant that an industrialization would also run without any purification plant, they are pulling out ground water, and now 50 towns are sinking...

7  Venice (Venezia)

Venice with
                                    bridge and gondola
Venice with bridge and gondola [7]
Venice with a
                                    little pier, houses and a canal
Venice with a little pier, houses and a canal [8]

Map showing the lagoon of Venice with
                            Venice and more settled islands
Map showing the lagoon of Venice with Venice and more settled islands [9]

Venice is sinking
-- 1 to 2 mm each year (this says the article "Venice going on sinking" (orig. German "Venedig sinkt weiter") of Süddeutsche Zeitung of 22 March 2012:
<Sinking tempo is 1 to 2 mm each year geophysicists are concluding from satellite data from 2001 to 2011.>
(orig. German: <Die Sinkgeschwindigkeit beträgt ein bis zwei Millimeter pro Jahr, schließen Geophysiker aus Satellitendaten der Jahre 2001 bis 2011.>)

-- 3 mm per year respectively 30 cm in 100 years (according to the article "Venice sinking faster than expected" (orig. German: "Venedig sinkt schneller als bisher befürchtet") in the newspaper "Welt" of 20 October 1999):
<The seating has sunk by 30 cm in 100 years.>
(orig. German: <Fundamente sind in 100 Jahren um 30 Zentimeter abgesackt.>)

-- 3 to 5 mm per year (according to the article "Venice, sinking town" (orig. German: "Venedig, die sinkende Stadt") from "Könige" from October 1993:
<In former times Venice was sinking about 2 mm per year, now 3 to 5 mm each year, in Old Venice even 6 mm.>
(orig. German: <Früher sank Venedig durchschnittlich zwei Millimeter pro Jahr, heute sind es drei bis fünf Millimeter, in Alt-Venedig sogar bis zu sechs Millimeter.>)

Why this?

One part is the rising sea level:
<Sea level is rising a little bit today already. In the last 100 years this rise was between 10 and 20 cm. And it's rising always faster. In the last 10 years the rise of sea level was 3 cm. This is not caused much by the melting ice shields on earth, but the main reason is the warming of the ocieans. First the atmosphere was warming by greenhouse gases [rather by the change of the position within milky way]. And now also the sea is getting warmer by the warmer air. And the warmer water becomes, the more it is extending like every kind of body.>

<orig. German: Ein wenig steigt aber auch heute schon das Meer an. In den letzten 100 Jahren so zwischen 10 und 20 cm. Und es steigt immer schneller an. So waren es in den letzten 10 Jahren schon ungefähr 3 cm. Nur hat das mit dem Eis noch wenig zu tun. Der Hauptgrund liegt darin, dass sich das Wasser der Ozeane erwärmt hat. Zuerst wird zwar die Atmosphäre durch die Treibhausgase wärmer. Langsam aber gibt diese die Wärme auch an das Wasser der Meere ab. Und wenn Wasser wärmer wird, dehnt es sich aus wie jeder Körper. >
And the other part?

Venice is situated in a lagoon. Originally people was living in the port town of Chioggia which was pillaged many times and therefore the dwellers went on the islands in the lagoon feeling safe.
(orig. German: Venedig liegt in einer Lagune. Ursprünglich befanden sich die Bewohner in der Hafenstadt Chioggia, die aber immer wieder geplündert wurde. Die Bewohner zogen sich daraufhin auf eine Inseln in der Lagune zurück).

Venice consists of about 120 islands in a big lagoon and the ground is only mudflat and swamp:
<The locations of Venice were found on alluvial land which was originated by rivers after the glacial period. In the mouth of the rivers lagoons were originating, and the lagoon of Venice is comprising about 550 km2 and is limited by sandbars of more than 60 km to Adria. Only about 3 % of this surface are covered islands, and all the rest is mudflat and swamp.>
<orig. German: Die Siedlungen, aus denen Venedig entstand, liegen auf Schwemmland, das nacheiszeitliche Flüsse hervorbrachten. Die in deren Mündungsgebiet entstandene Lagune umfasst eine Fläche von rund 550 km² und wird von rund 60 km langen Sandbänken gegen die Adria abgegrenzt. Nur etwa drei Prozent dieser Fläche bedecken Inseln, der Rest besteht aus Watt- und Marschland.>

Under this mud and mudflat there is a hard clay layer on which poles can be set:
<The locations in the lagoon were installed on millions of wooden poles which were driven into the ground. During early times was detected that under the mud is a hard clay layer called "Caranto" ("like rock", from Latin: caris = rock), and on these poles in this clay layer the buildings were set. On this first level the bases were built (zattaron) with two layers of wooden planks of larch tree which were fixed with bricks. On these "zattarons" the basic walls are fixed and then the overground walls are built. For saving weight hollow clay bricks were used ("mattoni").
<orig. German: Die Orte der Lagune wurden auf Millionen von Holzpfählen errichtet, die man in den Untergrund rammte. Man hatte früh entdeckt, dass sich unter der Schlammablagerung fester Lehmboden, der Caranto (spätlat. caris, Fels) befand, und dass sich auf Pfählen, die man in diese Schicht hineinrammte, Gebäude errichten ließen. Auf dieser ersten Ebene ruhte der so genannte Zattaron, eine Art Ponton aus zwei Schichten von Lärchenbohlen, die mit Backsteinen befestigt wurden. Auf den Zattaron stützen sich die Grundmauern und schließlich das oberirdische Mauerwerk. Die Bauten selbst wurden, um Gewicht zu sparen, aus leichten, hohlen Tonziegeln, den mattoni, erbaut.

In the beginning there were only wooden houses, and only then came stone houses:
<The population fled from Langobards and Huns to the Venetian swamp land. Above all the sons and descendants of Roman senators felt well and save in this impassable territory. There were over 100 islands, biger and little ones, with wooden huts first, and since 11th century the construction with stone houses and brick houses began. [...] The wooden trunks are always under water and during the centuries become as hard like stone.>
<orig. German: Die Menschen flohen vor den Langobarden und den Hunnen ins venetische Sumpfgebiet. Vor allem waren es die Abkömmlinge römischer Senatoren, die sich ob der Unwegbarkeit dort sicher fühlten. Es gab über 100 Inseln, größere und kleine, auf denen anfangs Holzhütten gebaut wurden, ab dem 11. Jahrhundert begann man mit Stein- und Ziegelbauten. [...] Da diese Baumstämme immer unter Wasser sind, wurden sie im Laufe der Jahrhunderte hart wie Stein.>

Pulling out ground water from underground groundwater provoked heavy sinking processes. English Wikipedia article about "Venice" ( is indicating that artesian dwells were shut in the 1960s [which consumed much groundwater] and therefore the sinking process has reduced considerably:
<The sinking has slowed markedly since artesian wells were banned in the 1960s.>

And there are also general manipulations in the lagoon of Venice:
<The currents of the sea water by the tides was influenced badly by building of deep fairways for crusers and tankers and freighters for the port of Marghera so basements were undermined. Additionally flats in the old town of Venice are massively more expensive than flats on the coast line and thus are empty and not populated.>
<orig. German: Das Strömungsverhalten von Ebbe und Flut wurde zusätzlich durch das Ausbaggern tiefer Fahrrinnen für die Überseeschiffe, die den Hafen von Marghera ansteuern, ungünstig beeinflusst, so dass Fundamente unterspült wurden. Schließlich sind Wohnungen in der Altstadt erheblich teurer als auf dem Festland und daher vielfach unbewohnt.>

And sea level is additionally rising. Well, what's up to do for saving Venice?

Saving Venice: reduce pulling out of groundwater to 0 - water supply with lakes and purification plants - reduce dwelling houses
Big stone buildings are not good on a clay layer, and rising sea level will not save Venice either. Therefore all dwelling houses should be replaced by wooden houses, or one should limit the dwelling houses at least to one floor discharging the clay layer in the ground of Venice. Pulling out of groundwater has to be reduced to 0. Representative buildings can stay. This should be enough for hindering any more sinking of the soil and may be the soil will rise again. Or one makes new constructions with swimming houses which are fixed on poles.

But see the circumstances of Venice: There is no canalization (2013) but is only under construction. And groundwater is going on being pulled out until today (2013) without end and Venice is going on sinking. Watergate system of Italian Government closing the lagoon will block all currents of the lagoon changing the lagoon massively or even provoking silting of the lagoon. And when the watergate system is lowering the water level too much the trunks can be seen and will rot with the reaction of the oxigen in the air (

Therefore for Venice cannot be other things than
-- stop pulling out groundwater down to 0
-- install a water supply with reservoirs, lakes and purification plants on rivers, or install desalination plants
-- install lighter houses (wooden houses) or reduce the heavy stony houses limiting them on one floor.

8  The case of Mexico City

Mexico City
                                    with skyscrapers
Mexico City with skyscrapers [10]
The muddy plain
                                    of the former big lake is completely
                                    blocked with houses, and by the
                                    weight the town is sinking, and use
                                    of groundwater provokes that the
                                    town is thinking even faster
The muddy plain of the former big lake is completely blocked with houses, and by the weight the town is sinking, and use of groundwater provokes that the town is thinking even faster [11]

Map of Mexico City, a sinking town
                            (irregularly!) into the mud of a formerly
                            dried lake
Map of Mexico City, a sinking town (irregularly!) into the mud of a formerly dried lake [12]

And Mexico City ?

German Wikipedia indicates about Mexico City (
<As many other buildings of the town also the cathedral is sinking slowly but steadily into the swampy soil.>
(orig. German: <Wie zahlreiche andere Gebäude der Stadt versinkt auch die Kathedrale langsam im sumpfigen Boden.>)

Swampy soil of Mexico City only can bear wooden houses as it seems.

But also in Mexico City groundwater is reduced provoking that the complete town of Mexico City is sinking more and more. See the English Wikipedia
<[Mexico City is also] a sinking city due to overextraction of groundwater, groundwater-related subsidence.) [...] This sinking is causing problems with runoff and wastewater management, leading to flooding problems, especially during the rainy season.The entire lake bed is now paved over.>
Therefore also in the case of Mexico City all conditions are determinating that a neighboring metropolis on safe soil has to be built or neighboring towns have to be enlarged saving the population of Mexico City from it's sinking town which can be converted in big parts into a fertile agricultural zone.

9  The historical principle of spongy soil - building of neighboring metropolis - muddy soil for fertile agricultural zone

Therefore we see that sinking towns are a historical principle: first there were only wooden houses on alluvial land or on swamp, and the soft soil cannot bear heavy stony houses and skyscrapers, and extraction of groundwater is even accelerating the sinking process. And we can be lucky that there are not more towns in this situation. The population has to be shifted to safe ground, and water supply has to be secured from the mountains, and the muddy soil will be a very fertile (!!!) agricultural zone (minerals!). When this is performed the catastrophe will not come. Bangkok has a tropical rainy season with monsoon and parts are already under 0 meters and rain will always be stronger with climate change because clouds can take more humidity with higher temperatures. Thus the parts in Bangkok which are under 0 meters of sea level principally are in heavy danger already. And also Shanghai is in a tropical monsoon climate zone. Also Shanghai should begin with the clearing and should build up a neighbors metropolis on a safe ground.

In this case of sinking towns the historians have generally "slept" because sinking towns were never considered and they left politics alone with it. But I will not sleep.

And there is one more thing: Because there are even sinking more localities:

10  Polar regions (above all Russia, Canada, Alaska, and China): defreezing permafrost ground is bringing new swamp and villages are sinking

Defreezing permafrost ground and the effects

Defrozen permafrost ground: house with
                            cracks without end in Chersky, Russia
Defrozen permafrost ground: house with cracks without end in Chersky, Russia [14]
Defrozen permafrost ground: deformed
                            house in Siberia
Defrozen permafrost ground: deformed house in Siberia [15]
Map indicating permafrost territories
                            on northern hemisphere of Earth
Map indicating permafrost territories on northern hemisphere of Earth [16]. There the soil is defreezing

Defrozen permafrost ground: sinking
                            mail building in Wiseman, Alaska,
Defrozen permafrost ground: sinking mail building in Wiseman, Alaska, "U.S.A." [17]
Defrozen permafrost ground: sinking
                            house in Irkutsk, Russia
Defrozen permafrost ground: sinking house in Irkutsk, Russia [18]
Defrozen permafrost ground: inclined
                            house in Dawson, Yukon, Canada, former Flora
                            Dora Hotel
Defrozen permafrost ground: inclined house in Dawson, Yukon, Canada, former Flora Dora Hotel [19]

Defrozen permafrost ground: overturned
                            house by erosion on the river side when the
                            defrozen ground was eroded by the river,
                            Shishmaref, Alaska, "U.S.A."
Defrozen permafrost ground: overturned house by erosion on the river side when the defrozen ground was eroded by the river, Shishmaref, Alaska, "U.S.A." [20]

A muddy ground can be provoked also "from the other side" when climate change is provoking that permafrost soil is defreezing. Those villages and towns which were built in a climate of always under 0 degrees are in a heavy danger now when the defrozen soil is converting into mud and houses are sinking in it. There are reports like the following one about northern Russia (Siberia) with a defrozen permafrost soil in Spiegel of 21 November 2012 with the article "Defreezing permafrost: Towns in the north are threatened by mud death" (orig. German: "Tauender Permafrost: Städten des Nordens droht der Schlammtod"):
<For example the Russian town of Yakutsk is completely situated on permafrost. Most of houses are on concrete poles so the soil is not defreezing by the warmth of the houses. "But when permafrost is defreezing in such regions the ground will be muddy and many populated houses are in danger to collapse. Also infrastructure will be in danger with it", Lantuit says.>

(orig. German: <So liegt beispielsweise die russische Großstadt Jakutsk vollständig auf Permafrost. Die meisten Häuser stehen auf Betonpfeilern, damit der Boden darunter nicht von der abgestrahlten Wärme aufgetaut wird. "Wenn der Permafrost in solchen Gegenden taut, wird der Untergrund matschig und die Häuser vieler Menschen wären einsturzgefährdet. Auch die Infrastruktur bekäme direkte Auswirkungen zu spüren", sagt Lantuit.>

There are already many sinking villages in Russia and the young generation has partly left these villages as the following traveling report shows us
<Russia during a spring day: this was a never ending trip on mostly miserable asphalted road passing a boring landscape which is changing it's character only step by step. There are huge fields, dry meadows and flooded meadows by melt water, hidden swamps which can be very dangerous and are not a location for a neighboring place, there are bright birch forests yet without any foliage which are provoking a fury because they never end, and there is dark taiga, meadow hills in a harmony in Burjatien, and then the idyll of Baikal Lake. And again and again there are sinking villages in the mud where it seemed they are populated only by the elders. Where nothing else but sour Russian bread and Coca Cola and Fanta could be bought. And the young generation had taken their flight already.>

(orig. German:
<Russland im Frühling: das war für uns eine nicht endenwollende Fahrt auf meist miserablen Teerstrassen durch weite eintönige Landschaften, die nur allmählich ihren Charakter veränderten. Riesige Felder, verdorrte und von Schmelzwasser überschwemmte Wiesen, verborgene Sümpfe, die man zur Nachtplatzsuche tunlichst meidet, helle Birkenwälder, noch unbelaubt, die man irgendwann einfach nicht mehr ausstehen kann, finstere dunkle Taiga, harmonische grüne Wiesenhügel in Burjatien und dann die Idylle des Baikal Sees. Und immer wieder armselige, im Schlamm versinkende Dörfer, in denen es nur noch Alte zu geben schien. Wo es ausser einem sauren russischen Brot und Coca Cola und Fanta nichts zu kaufen gab. Die Jungen hingegen sind schon lange geflüchtet.>

When global warming is going on like this, until 2200 two thirds of permafrost soil will be defrozen. This reports the newspaper "Die Welt" in the article "Two thirds of permafrost soil will defreeze until 2200" (orig. "Zwei Drittel der Permafrostböden schmelzen bis 2200") from 17 February 2011
<US scientists were publishing the latest calculations according to world wide ice defreezing and climate protection aims are put into question now. The study of the University of Colorado indicates that until 2200 two thirds of permafrost soil in the world will be melt.>
(orig. German: <US-Forscher haben mit neuesten Berechnungen zur weltweiten Eisschmelze bisher gültige Klimaschutzziele in Frage gestellt. Der Studie der University of Colorado zufolge werden im Jahr 2200 bis zu zwei Drittel der Permafrostböden der Welt geschmolzen sein.>)

And now one has to see where is permafrost soil in the world in the polar regions, not only in Russia, but also in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and also in parts of Mongolia are affected by defreezing permafrost soil (
<20 to 25% of the surface of the Earth are permafrost soil, Greenland with 99%, Alaska with 80%, Russia with 50%, Canada with 40 to 50%, and China up to 20%. [...] Geographically seen these are big parts of northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland and eastern Siberia. The most southern permafrost soil is reaching to Mongolia.>
(orig. German: <20 bis 25 % der Landflächen der Erde sind Permafrostböden, wobei Grönland zu 99 %, Alaska zu 80 %, Russland zu 50 %, Kanada zu 40 bis 50 % und China bis zu 20 % aus Permafrostböden bestehen. [...] Geographisch gesehen handelt es sich um große Teile Nordkanadas, Alaskas, Grönlands und Ostsibiriens. Nach Süden reichen einige Permafrostgebiete bis in die Mongolei.>

11  Conclusions for sinking towns and villages: act fast and right: build up neighboring metropolis and a safe water supply with reservoirs - install the rich agricultural zone on the mud

We can see that sinking towns ans villages are NO singular case but fast action is needed because oversalting groundwater has to be omitted in any case. There is nothing else but to reconstruct the towns on a safe place again, or to enlarge neighboring towns, and any action has to be omitted for a further sinking ground. Nobody should lose it's courage with this, but firm and resolute measures heading for a safe ground are wanted:

-- stop all pulling out of groundwater
-- install a water supply with reservoirs and lakes and purification plants on the rivers or with desalination plants in dry regions on the sea, and keep all waters clean
-- shift the water consuming industries to lakes and rivers for not using underground water
-- shift the affected populations on a safe ground installing efficient dwellings on safe soil or enlarge neighboring cities and locations, always with houses with flat roofs so more floors can be built on it
-- in the affected muddy soil zone all heavy houses should be destroyed discharging the soil and clay layers
-- muddy soil can be converted into best agricultural zones (is very fertile and containing minerals!)
-- generally NEVER ANY skyscraper should be built on a river side or near a beach
-- a swampy soil, an alluvial soil or a muddy soil of a lake or a muddy soil are not made for stony houses
-- on such "spongy" soils only wooden houses should be constructed and only every 100th house should be a stony house
-- wooden houses should not be built near to each other evading big fires.

What will happen when nothing happens and the towns will be on 0 meters over sea level:
-- oversalted groundwater (in towns near the sea)
-- permanent floods and eventual big lakes will be in the town
-- canalization will not work any more and feces will swim around
-- there will be a heavy danger of epidemics (dysentery, typhus) and when the ground water is infected the epidemic will spread rapidly
-- there will be a chaos and mass flight because all want to flight in one time.

Or they want to install refugee camps for 10 million persons in the monsoon rain? This will not work!

And from defreezing permafrost ground one only can take it's flight until a warmer climate has formed a good earthy ground there. This will last as I estimate about 200 to 500 years. Who had sent people to live in permafrost climate in Russia? It was Stalin's terror. So the flight from there is only something for more life!

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