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Sunken Treasures: Ten Cities Headed for Extinction

Many travelers take it for granted that cities will be here for centuries to come, but these metropolises are sinking fast. It's not a disaster movie; it's a scary reality. From landlocked Beijing to medieval Venice, global warming and man-made construction are slowly destroying these cities forever.

New York

1 / 10

If sea levels rise as dramatically as predicted over the next 100 years, New York could look like a scene from disaster flick "The Day After Tomorrow."

Mexico City

2 / 10

Mexico’s capital is a cautionary tale for excessive groundwater extraction—it sinks over forty centimeters each year.


3 / 10

Beijing’s rapid subsidence (sinking) rate, coupled with frequent earthquakes, makes the city a prime suspect for destruction.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

4 / 10

In 1998, the Ganges River swallowed three hundred thousand houses and thirty million people lost their homes in the most severe flooding in modern history.

New Orleans

5 / 10

Jorg Hackemann /

Even five years after Katrina, some parts of New Orleans are still underwater.


6 / 10

Known as the “Venice of the East,” Bangkok faces a similar peril—it sinks two inches per year due to its foundation on a swamp.


7 / 10

Skyscrapers in Shanghai must be built on deep concrete piles to keep them from sinking into the soft, muddy ground.


8 / 10

These idyllic atolls are directly affected by global warming; government officials warn that rising sea levels could completely submerge the island nation.


9 / 10

Parts of Texas’s “Energy Capital of the World” are ten feet lower than they were fifty years ago.


10 / 10

The world’s most famous sinking city—aka the “Queen of the Adriatic”—suffers from more than fifty floods per year. Some experts suggest the only way to save Venice is to physically move it to higher ground … how they plan to do that is a mystery worthy of Dan Brown.

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