GO
Loading...

Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

GPS discovers the West is so dry, it's rising

California mountains dry lake
Alan Majchrowicz | Stone | Getty Images
California mountains dry lake

California's mountains are rising. Like an uncoiled spring, they have moved up by more than half an inch (15 millimeters), thanks to the absence of water to weigh them down, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Initially, the Global Positioning System (GPS) stations that discovered this fact were meant to study earthquakes. Researchers noticed something strange, however, when they looked at the data: The stations were rising across the West by an average of 0.15 of an inch (4 millimeters) and even more in the mountains.

This "uplift" effect was a consequence of the historic drought hitting California and nearby areas, researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego said.

How much water is missing from the ground? Nearly 63 trillion gallons, which is equal to a four-inch pool of water spread across the surface of the entire Western United States.

More from NBC News:
Crowdfunders raise $225,000 for cop who shot brown
Ferguson shop owners fear more looting
Tennessee death row inmates sue to block electric chair

Read MoreBuzzkill! Drought saps California honey production

—By NBC News' Keith Wagstaff

Contact U.S. News

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

Don't Miss

U.S. Video

  • Earnings double whammy: Pro

    Kicking off the second quarter earnings season, with Mike Thompson, S&P Capital IQ.

  • Chairs: Squawk takes a stand

    The "Squawk Box" news team discusses some of the morning's most provocative headlines, including Starbucks hiking prices on most drinks starting today.

  • Crude oil correction

    Matt Smith, ClipperData, weighs in on the impact to the price of oil if Iran gets a final nuclear deal.