· Subsidence: Venice sinks slowly over time, which means the land gradually goes down. There are different reasons for this, such as natural processes in the Earth, taking out water from underground, and the heaviness of buildings on the soft ground. Since it was built in the 5th century, Venice has been sinking, and it has been sinking faster since the 19th century. Taking out water from underground, building things, and the movement of Earth's plates have all made the sinking worse.
· Rising Sea Levels: The natural sinking of Venice is further compounded by rising sea levels. As global sea levels rise due to climate change, Venice faces an increased risk of flooding. Even small increases in sea level can have significant consequences, making the city more vulnerable to the impacts of high tides and storm surges.
· Acqua Alta: Acqua alta refers to the occurrence of high water in Venice. It happens when strong winds and high tides combine to push water from the Adriatic Sea into the Venetian Lagoon. The excess water then seeps onto the main island of Venice, causing flooding in various parts of the city. To mitigate the impact of acqua alta, Venice has implemented various measures, including the MOSE project. This project involves the construction of a system of mobile barriers designed to protect the lagoon and the city from high tides and storm surges. The barriers can be raised during high water events to prevent water from entering the lagoon and causing flooding in the city. But it is not enough there are many other efforts are underway to address and mitigate the impacts of flooding, including the construction of flood barriers and the implementation of sustainable urban planning practices. However, managing and adapting to these challenges remains an ongoing endeavor for the city.
When Did Venice Start Sinking?
Venice has been sinking gradually since its founding. However, the rate of sinking has accelerated in recent centuries, particularly since the 19th century when industrialization prompted extensive groundwater extraction. This process led to soil compaction and increased the frequency and severity of flooding. Since the city's establishment, Venice has sunk by approximately 4 feet (1.2 meters), including over 9 inches in the last century alone.
What Is Underneath Venice?
Underneath the city of Venice, there are a series of wooden piles that have been driven deep into the ground. The piles, which are made of oak and larch wood, are driven through the layers of clay and silt that make up the Venetian lagoo n until they reach the underlying bedrock.
The piles serve as the foundation for the floating city’s buildings, and their placement and spacing were carefully calculated to ensure stability and prevent sinking. The wooden piles are protected from decay by salty water and lack of oxygen, which creates an environment that inhibits the growth of microorganisms.
In addition to the piles, a series of interconnected canals and waterways run underneath Venice. These canals serve as the city’s sewage and drainage system and provide a means of transportation for both people and goods. The Grand Canal and smaller canals are unique features of the city and contribute to its distinctive character and charm.
"To know more about how we can save Venice city, please review our another article titled 'Ways to Save Venice City'"