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Parts of New Orleans Are Sinking Fast, Study Finds

New Orleans is sinking fast — with one neighborhood losing as much as an inch per year, a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research found.

The study, which was conducted between 2009 and 2012 and published last week, used GPS and radar, including one device that captured images from seven miles above ground.

The most threatened section of the already-below-sea level city is Michoud, a neighborhood that sits between Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Borguen, and is being swallowed up at a rate of half an inch to just over one inch per year, the researchers found.

Another neighborhood, the Upper 9th Ward, is losing just under half an inch to nearly one inch per year.

Though the researchers found that areas upriver from the city were generally losing less ground, one community, Norco, was losing an inch-and-a-half per year around industrial sites, including a refinery.

The researchers said that groundwater withdrawal was among the top reasons that parts of the region are sinking so rapidly.

Image: Downtown New Orleans
An aerial view of Downtown New Orleans on August 1, 2015 in New Orleans, La. Ricky Carioti / The Washington Post via Getty Images file