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Surfside condo had been sinking since 1990s, FIU professor says

2020 study by Shimon Wdowinski shows condo built on reclaimed wetlands
workers in lift as smoke rises from rubble of Champlain Towers South condo building collapse, June 24, 2021
Posted at 11:48 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 11:48:53-04

MIAMI — A study conducted by a South Florida college professor revealed that the Surfside condominium building that partially collapsed Thursday had been sinking since the 1990s.

Florida International University professor Shimon Wdowinski identified the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building as sitting on land where subsidence was detected from 1993 to 1999.

"When we measure subsidence or when we see movement of the buildings, it's worth checking why it happens," Wdowinski said in an interview published on FIU's news website Thursday. "We cannot say what is the reason for that from the satellite images, but we can say there was movement here."

MORE: History of building, structure collapses in Miami-Dade County

According to the April 2020 study, the condos along that stretch of the barrier island were built on reclaimed wetland. The study claims that areas where land is subsiding are more likely to experience more serious effects of sea level rise.

But, Wdowinski said, land subsidence would not cause a building to collapse.

Authorities have not yet identified what caused a section of the condo to collapse, killing at least four people.

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