Predictive Simulation of the Subsidence of Venice

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Science  01 Mar 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4127, pp. 849-851
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4127.849


Land subsidence at Venice is the result of sediment compaction in the unconsolidated, aquifer-aquitard system that underlies the Venetian Lagoon. Compaction is caused by extensive groundwater withdrawals at the nearby industrial port of Marghera. The total subsidence at Venice for the period from 1930 through 1973 has been about 15 centimeters. Predictive simulations with a calibrated mathematical model were hampered by the sparseness of available data, but, as a first estimate, they suggest that, if withdrawals are kept constant in the future as they have been since 1969, about 3 centimeters of further subsidence can be expected.