Is Mexico Sinking? The Science Behind the Claims

A recent article in The Guardian claimed that Mexico is sinking. But is this really true? We take a look at the science behind the claims.

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Recent headlines have claimed that Mexico is sinking into the sea, but is there any truth to these claims? Let’s take a closer look at the science behind them.

Mexico is located on three tectonic plates – the North American, Cocos, and Pacific plates. The country is especially vulnerable to earthquakes due to the interaction of these plates. In addition, Mexico has a long history of volcanic activity, which is also related to plate tectonics.

The interaction of the plates and the volcanic activity can cause the ground to sink or rise. For example, when an earthquake occurs, it can cause the ground to shift and sink. When a volcano erupts, it can release large amounts of gas and ash into the atmosphere, which can also cause the ground to sink.

So what do these events have to do with Mexico sinking into the sea? It’s important to understand that Mexico is not actually sinking into the ocean. The country is situated on high land above sea level and is not in danger of being submerged.

However, these events can cause localised sinking or rising of the land. In some cases, this can lead to coastal erosion and flooding. For example, after an earthquake in 2017, there was widespread flooding in Mexico City as a result of localised subsidence.

While Mexico is not actually sinking into the ocean, it is vulnerable to natural disasters that can cause parts of the country to sink or rise.

The Science

In recent years, there have been reports that Mexico is sinking. But is there any truth to these claims? Let’s take a look at the science behind the reports to find out.

The Geology

Mexico is located on the North American plate, which is currently moving northwest at a rate of about 2.5 centimeters per year. Mexico’s capital, Mexico City, is situated atop the former lake bed of Lake Texcoco. Lake Texcoco was formed about 2.5 million years ago when three separate rivers converged to create a large body of water. Over time, the lake bed slowly subsided and became dry land.

Due to the lake bed’s sandy and porous nature, as well as its high altitude (approximately 2,240 meters above sea level), Mexico City is susceptible to sinking. The city has experienced several large sinkholes in recent years, including one that measured 30 meters wide and 10 meters deep.

The problem has been compounded by the fact that Mexico City’s water supply comes from an aquifer beneath the lake bed. This aquifer is being depleted at an alarming rate due to the city’s growing population and lack of proper wastewater treatment facilities. As the aquifer shrinks, it puts even more pressure on the already fragile lake bed, causing it to subside further.

A recent study by Mexican and international scientists found that Mexico City is sinking at a rate of about 5 centimeters per year. This sink rate is expected to increase in the coming years as water levels in the aquifer continue to decline.

The Hydrology

Though the word “hydrology” might bring to mind pictures of pristine mountain streams or serene blue lakes, the study of hydrology actually encompasses a much wider range of topics. Hydrology is the branch of science that deals with the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets. It also includes the study of the impact of water on the environment.

Hydrologists use their knowledge to help solve a variety of problems, such as drought or flood control, pollution prevention, and providing safe drinking water. They also work to restore and protect watersheds, which are areas that drain into a particular body of water.

The Climate

The scientific community has reached a consensus that the planet is warming, and that human activity is responsible for most of the increase in temperature over the past few decades. In 2010, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is widely considered to be the authoritative voice on climate science, released its Fifth Assessment Report. The report found that it is “extremely likely” that human influence has been the dominant cause of global warming since the 1950s.

While there is broad agreement among scientists that the planet is warming, there is less consensus on how much of the warming is attributable to human activity, and how much will occur in the future. These uncertainties are due in part to natural variability in the climate system, as well as limitations in our ability to model future climate change.

One of the most important pieces of evidence for human-caused global warming comes from looking at historical temperature records. These records show a clear trend of increasing global temperatures over the past century or so. But they also show that there has been a lot of natural variability in temperatures from one year to the next, and from one decade to the next. This natural variability makes it difficult to determine exactly how much of the observed warming is due to human activity, and how much is due to natural causes.

Climate models are used to simulate what would happen if certain factors changed, such as greenhouse gas emissions or solar activity. Models allow scientists to study how different drivers might affect future climate change. However, because climate models are based on imperfect understanding and knowledge of Earth’s climate system, they are not able to perfectly simulate all aspects of climate change. As a result, there is some uncertainty associated with projections from climate models.

The Implications

Mexico is a developing country with a ever-growing population. The majority of the population resides near the coastlines where they can benefit from fishing and farming. With the growing population, the demand for these resources has increased, depleting them at an alarming rate. This, added to the effects of global warming, has caused some people to believe that Mexico is sinking. Let’s take a look at the science behind the claims.

The Environment

Mexico City is built on an ancient lake bed, and as the city has grown, it has sunk. The sinking is caused by a combination of factors, including the weight of the buildings and the pumping of water from underground aquifers. The sinking is a serious problem because it can cause damage to buildings and infrastructure, and it makes flooding worse.

Mexico City is not the only city that is sinking. Other cities, including Bangkok, Jakarta, and Manila, are also sinking due to similar reasons.

The Infrastructure

Mexico City is home to more than 20 million people, making it one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. The city has a long history of uncontrolled urban sprawl, and as a result, its infrastructure is stretched thin. In addition, the city sits atop a lake bed, which makes it susceptible to sinking.

In the past decade, there have been a number of reports of buildings and roads collapsing in Mexico City. In some cases, these collapses have been attributed to sinkholes, which can form when the ground beneath a structure is no longer able to support its weight. Sinkholes are a natural phenomenon, but they can be exacerbated by human activity, such as excessive groundwater pumping.

The effects of climate change are also thought to be contributing to Mexico City’s sinking problem. As the global climate warms, sea levels are rising and water tables are dropping. This combination can cause land to sink, as has been observed in other coastal cities around the world.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of any given sinkhole or collapse in Mexico City, it’s clear that the city’s infrastructure is under stress. With increasing population growth and climate change challenges on the horizon, it’s likely that this problem will only get worse in the years to come.

The Economy

Mexico is one of the world’s most populous countries, with over 120 million people, and it has the 11th largest economy in the world. The Mexican economy has been growing rapidly in recent years, but it has not been immune to the global financial crisis. In 2009, the Mexican economy contracted by 6.5%, but it recovered quickly and grew by 5.5% in 2010.

The Mexican government has taken a number of steps to insulate the economy from the global financial crisis and to spur economic growth. These steps include increasing government spending on infrastructure and social programs, providing loans to small businesses, and increasing investment in education and training.

The Mexican economy is expected to continue growing in the coming years, but there are some risks that could weigh down on growth. These risks include high levels of crime and violence, which can deter investment and tourism; a stagnant or declining oil sector; and continued problems with corruption.


In conclusion, the available evidence does not support the claims that Mexico is sinking. While it is true that some parts of the country are experiencing problems with subsidence, this is not happening everywhere and is not severe enough to cause the entire country to sink. Additionally, Mexico is taking steps to protect its coastlines from erosion and flooding, and so it is unlikely that the country will sink in the near future.

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