GeoCarta Has Moved

Jun 5, 2005

Waterfront Property May Be Closer Than You Think

By century's end, much of southern Louisiana may sink into the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas coastline, including Galveston, could soon follow.

A controversial new report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says much of the Gulf of Mexico is sinking much faster than was previously believed and that much of coastal Louisiana may soon be in the gulf, with Texas' soon to follow. The Houston Chronicle recent published an article on NOAA's report. The article outlines the challenge facing surveyors and others that study the earth's surface in measuring the elevation of land in areas of subsidence.

The NOAA report states that the Louisiana coast may be sinking by at least 5 feet every century. Similar subsidence may also be occuring in Texas as well, according to NOAA. Arthur Berman, editor of the Houston Geological Society Bulletin, was quoted by the Chronicle as saying, "Galveston is history."

Most of the reasearch into subsidence along the Texas gulf coast has been done by the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District. The district disputes the five feet a century measurement, placing to the coast's sinking at a rate of about three quarters of a foot per century.

Studies continue to be made of the situation. Dr. Gary Jeffress, a mapping specialist at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. recently received a grant of $665,000 to modernize the height of benchmarks along the Texas coast. Despite the continued study, the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District is not worried. it's executive director was quoted in the Chronicle as saying, "We don't know everything. But I don't think we're going to fall into the sea anytime soon."

So what should someone looking for waterfront property do? I suppose if you believe the people in Houston, you shold get you a place on Galveston Island on the gulf. If you believe the people at NOAA, get you a place in Austin and wait for the gulf to come to you.

Houston area subsidence. Map from Houston Chronicle. Posted by Hello