The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
Hoaxes Throughout History
Middle AgesEarly Modern1700s1800-1840s1850-1890s
1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s21st Century2014
The Taj Mahal is Sinking
Apparently it's because the original architects didn't factor in the weight of all the tourists who visit it.

Well, no. Not really. According to the BBC, the real reason is that, "The building's foundations require a steady stream of moisture from the Yamuna River to retain its strength - but the river is slowly drying up." But the headline immediately reminded me of the urban legend of the sinking library.

PlacesUrban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 13, 2012

I wish they would explain this better. It would seem to me that a building's foundation's flooding would cause a tilting problem rather than it drying out doing so. But I'm not a structural engineer. Is this typical for buildings or is the Taj Mahal unique?
Posted by hoaxinghal  on  Thu Mar 15, 2012  at  04:33 AM
Well, according to the various reports I've seen, the building has wooden foundations that require a certain moisture level. If they get too dry, then they turn brittle. I'm not sure how exactly that is balanced against the wood rotting from the moisture, however.

I'd expect the ground settling due to water receding and leaving voids behind to be a problem, too, but maybe it's not.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Fri Mar 16, 2012  at  11:03 PM
Subsidence is caused by the ground drying below the foundation, it is actually more common a problem than moisture damage. India in particular is experiencing terrible subsidence as a result of the so-called "green revolution"-- massive irregation is draining the land, which in turn is sinking.
Posted by andychrist  in  NYC  on  Sun Mar 18, 2012  at  11:41 AM
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.