General, Research, Technology

How much do cities weigh and how do they affect the Earth?

According to the scientific publication Our World in Data,cities occupy only 1% of the entire area of ​​our planet. The rest of the site is occupied by agricultural land, forests, deserts and glaciers. Buildings built by people, cars and the very population of cities press against the surface of the Earth with their weight. Therefore, it is logical to assume that under this pressure our planet is changing at least a little. It is impossible to find out exactly how many tons each city weighs. And the problem is far from the absence of huge weights - the fact is that the mass of cities is constantly changing due to the influx of people and the non-stop construction of buildings. Even the sunlight falling on them can change the mass of cities. Despite all this, some enthusiasts have tried to calculate at least the approximate weight of cities and find out how their mass affects our planet. It turned out that Moscow weighs 308 million tons, but where did this figure come from? I'll tell you now.

Have you ever wondered how much cities weigh? It is quite possible to calculate the approximate mass

How much does Moscow weigh?

To figure out the mass of a city, add the weights of all people, cars, roads, and buildings.

To round up, today there are 12.5 million people living in Moscow weighing about 71 kilograms. If we multiply these numbers, it turns out that the total mass of the population of the capital of Russia is equal to 887 thousand tons.

Residents of Moscow weigh 887 thousand tons in total

According to the traffic police, at the moment in Moscow5.6 million cars, 11 thousand buses, about 600 trams and 5.3 thousand subway cars were registered. We will not describe how much each of these modes of transport weighs on average - their total weight is 8 million tons.

The total weight of all transport in Moscow is 8 million tons

It is also known that there are now 117 million in Moscowsquare meters of asphalt roads. Considering that the thickness of the asphalt pavement is about 10 centimeters, the mass of all roads in the city is 28 million tons.

All asphalt in Moscow weighs about 28 million tons

And finally, there are about 41.5 thousand residential buildings and 91.6 thousand non-residential buildings in Moscow. They are all different sizes, but if you add up their approximate total area, you get 271 million tons.

All buildings in Moscow weigh 271 million tons

Interesting fact: Even sunlight affects the mass of cities.The photons emitted by the Sun have no mass, but they have momentum. Falling to the surface, they exert very little pressure. On sunny days, Moscow can gain up to 1.1 thousand kilograms.

If all these numbers are added and rounded, it turns out that the mass of Moscow is 308 million tons... And that's not including home furniture, animals,sewer pipes and more. The results of all these calculations performed by the authors of this YouTube channel are amazing. But Moscow is far from the hardest city in the world. According to this same source, New York City weighs over 650 million tons. And the mass of Japanese Tokyo is 900 million tons.

See also: Why is it always warmer in cities than in villages?

How is the planet changing because of cities?

About the same calculations recently madeAmerican explorer Tomas Parsons. As part of his scientific work, he started calculating the approximate mass of the city of San Francisco, which is home to about 883 thousand people. True, in his calculations, he did not take into account the weight of people, cars and roads. He just found out about the number of buildings in the city and somehow figured out that all together they weigh 1.6 billion tons.

The total mass of San Francisco, excluding people, transport and roads - 1.6 billion tons

But figuring out the mass of San Francisco wasn't histhe ultimate goal. As part of his work, he wants to find out how the severity of cities affects the Earth. We will not delve into its complex calculations - the only important thing is that cities are compacting the soil under them and lowering the land level. In the case of San Francisco, the land level dropped by 80 millimeters. This may seem like a negligible figure, but on a global scale, it can cause serious disasters.

In the future, many cities may be under water

It just so happened that most of the largecities are built near water. Since the air temperature on our planet is gradually increasing and the glaciers are melting, in the future the water level in the world's oceans may rise significantly. Scientists estimate that by 2050 the sea level in the San Francisco Bay will rise by about 300 millimeters. According to Thomas Parsons, all this may lead to the fact that in the future part of the city may be under water.

Melting glaciers may not have the easiest times

Such a terrible fate awaits not onlySan Francisco. In one of the materials, my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova said that the cities of Asia are most under threat. Shanghai and nearby settlements may be under water. In total, floods in Asian cities could affect about 151 million people. Also, water can rush to Iraq and a number of other places on our planet. Read more at this link.

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As scary as it may sound, floodingcities are a natural phenomenon. The settlements were under water hundreds of years ago and will remain there in the future. I recently wrote about how traces of ancient people were found under the waters of Australia. This is further evidence that the once habitable land areas eventually ended up under water. Scientists know several large cities of antiquity that were completely flooded. One of them is Heraklion, which you can read about here.