Parts of Boston are sinking. No kidding! If that isn't bad enough, the escalating rate of glacial melt is causing the sea level to rise.

As the legendary Gilda Radner's Saturday Night Live character Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, "It just goes to show you, it's always something – if it's not one thing, it's another."

Boston has a problem.

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National Geographic reports, "The foundations beneath centuries-old homes and other buildings are at risk of rotting and crumbling." The site says, "A large portion of the city sits on man-made land."

Structures built on the landfill "are supported by dozens of 30-to-40-foot wood pilings, similar to telephone poles that reach down through the landfill to a harder layer of clay."

Coastal Care reports the depletion of aquifers "has exposed the wood to air in some cases, causing foundations to rot." According to the site, "Some homeowners have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the pilings to keep their homes from collapsing."

Coastal Care says the over-pumping of groundwater has contributed to the sinking of "the most vulnerable areas of Boston" at up to 3.8 centimeters per decade, "which adds up to nearly 10 centimeters by 2050."

Boston's Historic Neighborhoods Are Sinking Into The Earth
Getty Images

The Burlington, Massachusetts-based environmental and geotechnical engineering consulting firm Haley Aldrich says many areas of the City of Boston are affected by the problem, "particularly the sought-after, pricey neighborhoods of Back Bay, the South End, and Beacon Hill, which are known for their picturesque 19th and early 20th Century row houses."

Boston, like other East Coast cities, has also experienced an acceleration in beach erosion.

Greg Berman, a coastal process specialist with the Sea Grant program with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, told CBS Boston, "We are experiencing rates a little bit faster than other parts of the country...just because our land is sinking and at the same time the ocean levels are rising."

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