Scientists are concerned about the appearance of giant cracks in the southwestern United States. The first cracks formed a few years ago, but the problem is increasingly recurring. It’s disturbing, considering the destruction this causes. It is the same problem that entire neighborhoods face, across the Atlantic, in Spain.
Concern about the cracks formed in different states of the country
The scientific community in the United States is on alert, since there are several cases. The Arizona Geological Survey reported and mapped 272 kilometers of cracks. To this, we must add the cracks that have appeared in Utah and California.
The damage caused to buildings, roads, road, water and energy infrastructure is worrying. The truth is that the lives of many people are at risk because of this.
What causes these giant cracks to form?
Although, the formation of cracks has a very simple cause: the extraction of water from underground layers. The United States, and many other countries, extract water from aquifers. For this reason, the soil gives way to the lack of support caused by the water. In other words, it sinks, forming gigantic cracks.
According to an investigation carried out by the New York Times, 90% of the natural aquifers in the United States are overexploited. The second cause of cracks is drought caused by climate change. According to the New York newspaper, it is likely that the aquifers cannot be recovered.
The research also included reservoirs and indicates that half of them decreased their level considerably in the last four decades. 40% of the reservoirs have already reached their historical minimums.
The problem of lack of drinking water
Science provides some data. He cites the Colorado River as an example. If by 2050 temperatures rise between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius as predicted, the river’s flow would be reduced by between 10% and 40%. Furthermore, the recovery of aquifers can take centuries or even millennia. That is why vast areas of Arizona are already unrecoverable.
Another problem also influences, and it is a legal one, since the United States does not have regulations on water that is extracted by pumping. Even each State has weak laws regarding the amount of water withdrawn. That is to say, this amount has no limits and the aquifers are drying up quickly.
Spain suffers a similar situation
A similar problem is occurring in Spain, where aquifers are overexploited and also contaminated. An example is the protected Doñana aquifer, which lost more than 80% of its marshes, comparing the values with the beginning of the last century.
Likewise, the Citizen Nitrate Measurement Network indicates that more than 60% of Spain’s groundwater is contaminated with nitrates. In fact, more than 40% of Spanish aquifers do not comply with European directives. There are many Spanish municipalities that have been left without drinking water. Cazalla de la Sierra, in Seville, is an example of this.
The overexploitation of aquifers is causing the land to give way underfoot. This creates infrastructure problems. Many homes have worrying cracks, since there is a danger of collapse.