The German Town That’s Literally Breaking Apart

The town of Staufen, in the south-west of Germany, has a problem: a drilling operation in 2007 that went very wrong. Half a metre of movement might not sound like much, but in this town, that's enough for the buildings to crack and fall apart.
Thanks to Constantijn Crijnen for both suggesting the video and being the local expert! His channel's here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJhgIOJjB2xFJiwqVD3J6qQ
And here's an in-depth academic paper explaining why and how it all happened, in far more detail than would work in a YouTube video: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40517-017-0067-y
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Caption:
This is the town of staufen, near. the black forest in south-west germany. and as you walk around,. it looks like a normal german town. with one strange addition. up on some buildings,. there is a big fake piece of sticky tape. with a slogan that translates as. "staufen must not fall apart". unfortunately, it's a bit late for that. the government here tried to. bore for geothermic energy. and they bored, in total, seven boreholes. right behind the town hall. underneath of staufen is. a big layer of anhydrite. and underneath that is a layer of groundwater. in a confined aquifer. the pressurised groundwater. went into the layer of anhydrite. and formed gypsum. which expands by about 50%. unfortunately, that means that the ground . is expanding, bulging up,. and forming cracks in almost every. single house that's standing here. it took two weeks for the. first cracks to appear. in the decades since. the drilling operation. the town hall has risen. more than half a metre. and moved sideways by. about the same amount. and that might not sound like. much, and yes, if everything. had shifted evenly it might. not even be a problem. the trouble is that different. parts of each building. have shifted by slightly. different amounts. modern buildings couldn't cope with that,. and that town hall was built in 1546. the result is cracking. there's water from this confined aquifer. that's pushing up the boreholes. and what they are trying. to do is get the water out,. get the pressure down. from the confined aquifer. so that it doesn't even want. to go up those holes anymore. so they are pumping at a speed. of around a litre per second. the swelling started with. about a centimetre per month,. now it's down to about. a millimetre per month. but it's still swelling, and even a millimetre . is still way too much for every house. theoretically, they can stop it,. but you cannot just. plug it like a bathtub. it's not a single plane. it's more three dimensional, so in reality. you would need a big, big plug. and you don't even know where it exactly is. the drilling company settled out of court. for more than €1m,. but the cost of the damage here. is estimated at more than 50 times that. and there are eight other german towns. with similar problems. geothermal drilling was popular. and not massively regulated. and while the industry and the country. have learned from those mistakes,. for this town that knowledge comes. a little too late. thank you very much to. constantijn crijnen,. he suggested this video. in the first place. he also has his own youtube. channel where he's building. a 3d printer from. scratch, go check him out. .
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