Cities, geologic effects of
Since 1800, cities have increased in size and number. In the process of building (or rebuilding) and providing needed services to urban populations, cities have emerged as geologically important factors, altering shorelines, creating sediment deposits, and changing river discharges. These effects can be demonstrated in virtually any city. The magnitude and geological significance of such effects and their causes are illustrated in this entry using the New York metropolitan region.
In every city, urban effects were initially small and affected only the area near the city center. With the steam engine and the introduction of large-scale dredging in the late 1880s, however, the changes have grown in size and are particularly evident in coastal cities. Now these changes are large enough to leave an imprint on entire estuarine systems and adjoining continental shelves.
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