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Iran’s Khorasan Province Faces Severe Subsidence Risk

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It has been revealed that subsidence risks in Khorasan Province are five times larger than other areas, making it one of the most significant subsidence regions in Iran.

Ali Beitollahi, the head of the Risk Section at the Research Center of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development revealed in an interview with ILNA on Monday that “In Mashhad, the subsidence rate in the northwest of the city has reached 20 centimeters per year and will gradually affect the city center and the shrine of the eighth Shia Imam.”

On May 1, Shargh newspaper published an article reporting that Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, and Isfahan provinces—home to the highest population densities in the country—are grappling with a land subsidence crisis.

An annual subsidence rate exceeding 10 percent is recorded in only three to five percent of subsidence areas worldwide. Comparing the statistics with the subsidence rates in Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, and Isfahan underscores the critical situation in these provinces.

Land subsidence, where the ground surface gradually sinks unevenly, typically occurs due to the depletion of underground resources such as water, oil, and gas, leading to the compression of soil layers. Excessive extraction of groundwater depletes aquifers, causing the soil layers, which were previously supported by water, to compress and sink. The process results in cracks in buildings, roads, bridges, and even extensive geographical changes, leading to significant infrastructural damage.

In such conditions, even months of continuous rainfall cannot restore the dried-up groundwater areas, a concerning situation for the residents of Mashhad, Tehran, Isfahan, and many other cities in Iran.