The fourth most populated city in the world and it’s sinking! I can’t decide if that’s cool or just loco.
Mexico City is colossal! Not just in it’s population of almost 21 million people, but in it’s dimensions, in the extent of its history, in it’s buildings and in it’s culture.
It’s culture dates back thousands of years ago to when the Aztecs created the beginnings of this city, then known as Tenochtitlán, in the middle of a lake Texcoco in 1325. In 1521 the Aztec population fell and the Spanish overtook the city. The Spanish drained the rest of the Lake Texcoco and built their city on top. The city flooded many times and it wasn’t until 1967 when it came under control with a deep drainage system carrying water out of the basin. However the mega city continues to sink as wells extract water for drinking purposes and the ground it stands on suffers soil liquefaction. (Saturated soil that looses strength with applied pressure eg. earthquakes.)
That’s the facts, but lets not forget the main occurrence: the city is sinking and is estimated to have dropped 10 meters in the last century! Apart from the geographical / historical / technical rant, this is how it actually affects the city:
If you look close enough, you can see in the first image, the building on the left is leaning to the left. In the second image, the second lot of buildings are leaning slightly in towards the street, as opposed to being more rect like the first lot of buildings. To emphasise this point, we visited a friend, who put a ball of the floor of his flat. Normally the ball should stay still, but it rolled down towards the wall, indicating that the floor was slanted and causing the ball to roll. Twenty-one million people live on top of a lake and deal with these inevitable consequences.
Since I wrote so extensively about this one little detail, I think the fact that this mega city is sinking is pretty cool. Actually the Ciudad de Mexico is definitely one of my favourite places in Mexico. The food is cheap, there’s heaps to do and the city is alive with energy.