Why Is Mexico City Sinking?

Mexico City is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world and is also one of the oldest cities in the Americas. Despite its rich history and cultural heritage, the city is facing a major environmental crisis. The city is sinking at an alarming rate, and if something isn’t done to stop it, the city could be completely submerged within the next few decades. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the reasons why Mexico City is sinking and what is being done to try

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Mexico City is one of the world’s largest metropolises, with a population of over 21 million people. The city is also one of the most populous capital cities, and it is the seat of the Mexican federal government. Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico, which is a large valley in the highlands of central Mexico. The valley is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, and it has an average elevation of 2,240 meters (7,350 feet) above sea level. The valley was once a lake called Lake Texcoco, but the lake was drained during the colonial period to make way for Mexico City’s urban expansion.

Today, Mexico City is facing a new problem: it is sinking. Due to a combination of factors, including geologic instability, excessive groundwater pumping, and heavy rainfall, the city is sinking at an alarming rate. Some areas of the city are sinking as much as 10 centimeters (4 inches) per year. As a result, Mexico City is increasingly vulnerable to flooding and other problems associated with rising sea levels.

There are several reasons why Mexico City is sinking. One reason is that the city was built on soft soils that are easily compressed. When groundwater is extracted from these soils (for drinking water or irrigation), they collapse and cause the land surface to sink. Additionally, when it rains heavily, the waterlogged soils expand and cause sinking as well. Finally, Mexico City sits atop two major fault lines: The Popocatépetl fault and the Rincon de Parangueo fault. These faults are constantly moving and shifting, which can also contribute to land subsidence.

Mexico City’s sinking problem is exacerbated by its location in a basin. A basin is a low-lying area that collects water from nearby rivers or rainfall. Over time, sediments settle in basins and compact under their own weight. This process causes basins to sink slowly over time. In Mexico City’s case, this slow sinkage has been accelerated by human activity, such as groundwater pumping and rainfall runoff from impermeable surfaces like roads and buildings.

The effects of Mexico City’s sinking are already being felt by its residents. In some parts of the city, buildings are cracking and roads are buckling due to differential Settlement (when some parts of a structure sink more than others). Flooding has also become more common as rainwater collects in low-lying areas that are no longer able to drain properly because of compaction.. In addition to these immediate effects, long-term effects include increased risk of earthquakes and damage to infrastructure..

The problem of Mexico City sinking

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world, and it’s also one of the most populous. The city is home to over 21 million people, and it’s growing every day. But there’s a problem. The city is sinking.

The history of Mexico City sinking

Mexico City was founded by the Aztecs in 1325 on an island in Lake Texcoco. Over the centuries, the city gradually expanded onto the surrounding land. In the 1500s, the Spanish conquistadors conquered the Aztecs and Mexico City became the capital of Spain’s vast empire in the New World.

The Spaniards built Mexico City on a grid system, with wide boulevards and plazas. They also built massive aqueducts to bring fresh water from springs and rivers into the city. To drain water away from the city, they built canals and sewers.

All this construction changed the way water flowed around Mexico City. Before, water had soaked into the ground and replenished aquifers below. But now, rainwater and sewage flowed into canals and sewers and was discharged into lakes and rivers outside the city.

Mexico City is built on soft clay soils that are easily compacted by the weight of buildings and roads. When water is removed from these soils, they compact and subside, or sink. The process is called subsidence. It’s a gradual process that can take centuries, but it can cause buildings to crack and collapse.

The causes of Mexico City sinking

Mexico City is built on an ancient lakebed. When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they drained the lakes and built Mexico City on top of the resulting wetland. Since then, the city has been sinking at a rate of about 1 to 2 centimeters per year. The rapid sinking is due to a combination of factors, including natural settling, groundwater extraction, and rainfall.

Groundwater extraction is the main cause of Mexico City’s sinking. The city sits on a huge aquifer, which supplies its water needs. But as more and more water is pumped out of the ground, the aquifer becomes depleted and the land above it sinks.

Mexico City’s enormous size also adds to the problem. The city covers an area of more than 1,500 square kilometers, making it one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. The sheer weight of all those buildings causes the soft soil underneath to compact and sink.

The city’s location also makes it susceptible to sinking. Mexico City sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. As rainwater falls on the mountains and seeps into the ground, it lubricates the fault lines that run through the valley. This makes it easier for the land to slide—and sink—along those fault lines.

The effects of Mexico City sinking

Mexico City is built on a lakebed, and it is sinking. The effects of this are widespread and costly. The city has to constantly pump water out of the ground to keep buildings from collapsing, and this costs billions of dollars each year. The sinking is also causing the city to flood, and this has led to a rise in cases of water-borne diseases. With the city sinking at a rate of about 10 centimeters per year, the problem is only getting worse.

Solutions to Mexico City sinking

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world, and it is sinking. The problem is caused by a number of factors, including the extraction of water from the aquifers beneath the city, the weight of the buildings, and the softening of the clay soil on which the city is built. The city government is working on a number of solutions to the problem, including the construction of support pillars, the installation of pumps, and the reinforcement of the foundation of buildings.

The Mexican government’s plan to stop Mexico City sinking

The megalopolis of Mexico City is one of the largest urban areas in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. It is also one of the fastest sinking cities in the world. Parts of the city are sinking by as much as 10 cm (4 inches) per year.

The Mexican government has put together a plan to try to stop Mexico City from sinking further. The $5 billion plan includes building giant tunnels under the city to take water from aquifers that are being drained, and using it to recharge other aquifers that are being depleted. The plan also includes constructing canals and reservoirs, and planting trees on hillsides to try to slow down erosion.

The government is also working on legislation that will regulate the extraction of water from aquifers, in order to avoid further depletion. In the meantime, they are urging residents to use water wisely, and urging businesses to adopt water-saving practices.

It is estimated that it will take 50 years for the measures in the government’s plan to have an impact on Mexico City’s sinking.

International efforts to stop Mexico City sinking

In 2001, the Mexican government enacted the Soluciones Integrales para la Ciudad de México, or Integrated Solutions for Mexico City. The plan was a $5 billion USD effort to stop Mexico City from sinking and to improve the city’s water infrastructure.

The first part of the plan was to stop the extraction of water from the groundwater aquifers that support the city. This was done by building canals to bring water from the surrounding rivers, constructing wastewater treatment plants, and encouraging residents to use less water.

The second part of the plan was to improve drainage in Mexico City. This was accomplished by repairing and expanding the existing sewer system, and by building new drainage canals and tunnels.

The final part of the plan was to stabilize the clay soils that Mexico City is built on. This was done by injecting chemicals into the soil to solidify it, and by building walls and foundation pilings that go deep into the ground.

Overall, the plan has been successful in slowing down Mexico City’s sinking, but it has not been able to stop it completely. In some areas of the city, the ground is still sinking at a rate of 2 centimeters per year.


In conclusion, Mexico City is sinking because of a number of reasons, including the extraction of water from the aquifer beneath the city, the compaction of soil due to construction, and the loss of vegetation. While the city has taken steps to address these issues, they have not been completely successful in stopping the sinking.

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