One of the most fertile agricultural areas on the planet is California's Central Valley. Chances are that if you walk around an American grocery store's produce section, most of the fruits and vegetables come from that area. But a strange thing is happening to that valley. It's sinking. To be sure, we hear a lot about ocean levels rising - but land sinking?
You bet. As the effects of climate change make agricultural areas more arid, farmers have been forced to drill deep into the earth to access underground aquifers. No more is this apparent than in California's Central Valley, which has undergone years of debilitating droughts. In order to save their crops, farmers there have drilled so deep for water and used so much of it that deep beneath the earth, the empty aquifers are collapsing and, like dominoes, every layer of soil above them is sinking as well. Another byproduct of tapped out aquifers that have collapsed deep below the planet's surface is that they can no longer be refilled as they have for millions of years by natural sources (like rain and melting snow).