So, Chicago and parts of the Midwest are sinking

Parts of the country around southern Lake Michigan are dropping as receding ice sheets allow areas of the continent farther north to rise

TRD CHICAGO /
Mar.March 02, 2019 02:00 PM

The Chicago area is sinking up to 8 inches each century in some places (Credit: iStock, Pixabay)

Homeowners living along the shore of southern Lake Michigan who’ve dealt with wildly fluctuating water levels over the past few decades now have another worry: Chicago and other parts of the region are sinking.

The Earth’s crust around southern Lake Michigan is dipping as areas of the northern United States and Canada are rising as once heavy sheets of ice melt and recede. The Chicago area is sinking up to 8 inches each century in some places, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The change also affects the flow of water throughout the Great Lakes, and leads to lower levels in northern regions and higher levels at the southern end of the lakes. The effect could be water levels 4 inches higher in Chicago in the next century, while Cleveland could see levels climb 4 inches and Milwaukee could see levels nearly 6 inches higher.

New Buffalo, Michigan resident Ron Watson told the Tribune he’s seen fluctuating water levels over the years at his home across from Lake Michigan and is concerned.

“If you’ve ever lived on the shoreline, it’s inches of water we’re worried about, not feet of water. When lake levels are high, all it takes is inches,” Watson said. [Chicago Tribune] — John O’Brien


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