The nation's capital has sunk to new levels. In fact, Washington, D.C., along with the rest of the Chesapeake Bay area, is losing elevation every day, according to a new study. Prehistoric ice sheets to the north used to push up the mid-Atlantic region indirectly. When they retreated about 20,000 ago, the ground began to settle, and that subsidence will continue for tens of thousands of years, say geologists at the University of Vermont and their colleagues. The combination of descending land and rising sea levels caused by global warming means an inundated White House is closer than previously thought.

By the Numbers

3.4 millimeters

Average sea-level rise in the Chesapeake Bay region per year (twice that of the global average).

1.3–1.7 millimeters

Annual subsidence of the area.

15 centimeters

Total depth by which D.C. could sink by 2100.

SOURCE: “PLEISTOCENE RELATIVE SEA LEVELS IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY REGION AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR THE NEXT CENTURY,” BY BENJAMIN D. DEJONG ET AL., in GSA TODAY, VOL. 25, No. 8; AUGUST 2015