What about Paris collapsing into the earth?

Paris is built above flimsy mining tunnels

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The city of Paris is built over mining tunnels…

If you’ve ever studied the skyline of Paris, like maybe during that scene where it gets destroyed by an asteroid in Armageddon, you might have noticed that the central part of the city has virtually no tall buildings. Seems odd for a bustling European metropolis, right? Well, that’s because nobody can build much of anything in Paris without the city collapsing into the earth, thanks to a chaotic maze of unmapped tunnels dug underneath it.

Gypsum and limestone (OMG! sinkhole prone area) had been mined beneath Paris since the 13th century. As the city grew, so did the tunnels, but nobody bothered to keep track of how many were being dug or how far they extended in any particular direction.. A handful of Parisian suburbs were swallowed up by subterranean mine shafts over the next few centuries, and by the 1700s entire sections of Paris were dropping through the ground.

City officials were appropriately baffled, as none of them had any idea that Paris was essentially sitting on top of a giant ant farm full of unrefined minerals and the skeletons of the poor.

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They filled up the tunnels with bones… Not really stabil, isn’t it?

King Louis XIV sent some men to investigate why the earth was eating their city, and they discovered that pretty much all of Paris was in danger of collapsing, as it was built atop miles and miles of fragile quarries that, once again, nobody had bothered to keep track of. Improvements to the tunnels were immediately begun, but despite the numerous catastrophes, France continued boring dangerous holes beneath its capital city until the late 1800s.

map of underground mines in paris, paris underground maps, A map of underground mines under Paris, France. Green: Underground gypsum exploitations. Red:     Underground limestone exploitations Map drafted by Émile Gérards 1908 Scale: 1:60,000 Limite extrême de la formation de gypse exploitable : Extreme limit of exploitable gypsum deposits, paris, paris underground, paris sinkhole, paris mines, paris geology
A map of underground mines under Paris, France. Green: Underground gypsum exploitations. Red: Underground limestone exploitations Map drafted by Émile Gérards 1908. Scale: 1:60,000. Limite extrême de la formation de gypse exploitable : Extreme limit of exploitable gypsum deposits Limite de la zone exploitable du calcaire grossier : Exploitable limestone deposit zone limits Zone d’erosion et de brouillage : Erosion zone having no distinct geological formations Courbes de niveau d’après les repères antérieurs à 1907 (à diminuer de 0m61) : Elevation curves based on pre-1907 markers (to be reduced by .61 metres) Text : “The blue curves indicate the altitude at which the topmost extremity of the rock formation is generally exposed to the surface in the upper level of mine exploitations – This (limestone) deposit’s thickness varies from .40 metres to 1 metre – The lower level of a (limestone) mine most often begins around 4 metres below the rock formation surface – Gypsum mine levels are too varied to be represented by curves” Map: WIki Commons

The French government finally got wise to the fact that they were essentially digging Paris a giant grave in the 1950s, and since then almost all of the tunnels have been declared off-limits. The city has weight restrictions imposed on buildings to keep from putting too much strain on the threadbare mine shafts beneath them, hence Paris’ lack of skyscrapers. However, with sections of the tunnels still regularly collapsing, all it will take is a small tremor to bury the whole city.

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