The rise in sea levels will submerge thousands of historical sites in the USA. US: SCIENCE: Tech Times – tech2.org

The rise in sea levels will submerge thousands of historical sites in the USA. US: SCIENCE: Tech Times



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If sea level rise does not decrease, thousands of historical sites in the country could be at risk of disappearing. In such a scenario, the Southeast of the United States is expected to bear a large part of the burden.
( Win McNamee | Getty Images )

The steady rise in sea levels could threaten more than 13,000 archaeological and historical sites in the southeastern United States, according to new research.

If sea levels worsen, landscapes and cemeteries on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts could be at risk of being completely wiped out or submerged.

The research was published in PLOS One a peer-reviewed journal. David Anderson of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, along with his colleagues, wrote the study, arguing that the effects of sea level rise can be examined by "quantitative badyzes that encompbad large data samples and broad geographic and temporal scales." [19659005] Rising sea levels will destroy US heritage sites

Researchers badyzed data acquired from the Digital Index of North American Archeology, or DINAA, to predict the effect of continuous sea level rise at historic sites. [19659003] "DINAA allows us to examine where people lived in North America during the entire record of 15,000-year-old human settlements," Anderson told Live Science.

His conclusion says that thousands of sites could be submerged in the century. These include the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina and Jamestown, Virginia, the oldest English permanent settlement in the country.

Charleston, South Carolina and San Agustin, Florida, two of the country's continuously occupied locations European settlements were also estimated as high risk areas.

The surprising thing is that even a miserable rise in sea level of around three to 10 feet would be enough to threaten the aforementioned historical sites. It would be more catastrophic if the climb goes up more, say, around 16.4 feet. In that scenario, 32,000 sites could be affected, many of which are included in the National Register of Historic Places.

"We will lose much of the record of the last thousands of years of human occupation in coastal areas, where a large amount of history and settlement has taken place," Anderson said.

Rising sea levels have much more pressing implications than simple damage to areas. Not only history and heritage will be destroyed, residents of those places will inevitably be displaced in the process.

Expected damage and effects

Florida and Louisiana are expected to be the most affected, especially because Florida has the longest coastline in the Southeast. As for Louisiana, it is likely that the Pelican State is overwhelmed by coastal erosion and a sea level rise higher than the average.

The estimates should already be cause for concern, but they are actually modest predictions, according to Eric Kansa, one of the study's authors. There are many more undocumented areas that have not yet been studied; the investigation simply scratches the surface, in a certain sense.

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