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Drought Is Causing the Western U.S. to Rise Like an Uncoiling Spring

The massive loss of groundwater has caused a tectonic uplift of more than half an inch in some areas.
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Flickr/woodleywonderworks

File under apocalyptic imagery: The western United States' worst drought in possibly 500 years is causing the ground to rise up like an uncoiling spring.

A new report in Science from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at U.C. San Diego found that the massive loss of groundwater associated with the drought has caused a tectonic "uplift" of more than half an inch in California's mountains, with an average 0.15 of an inch across the west.