By Gretel H. Schueller
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Extra resources for Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans
For example, many major cities such as London and New Orleans, which already need storm-surge defenses, would need to add more. As sea levels rise, more areas require barriers to protect residents. In 1953, about 2,000 people in the Netherlands drowned when huge waves from the North Sea swept across the coastland. Half of the country lies below sea level. Since then, the country has built permanent sea walls. In some areas, these walls are Where the River Meets the Ocean 51 massive: In the seaside village of Petten, for example, the sea wall stands 42 feet (13 m) high and is perhaps 50 yards (46 m) thick at its base.
The tiny, sea-swept nation of Tuvalu, for example, is already in danger of sinking beneath the waves. Tuvalu consists of nine low-lying islands totaling just 10 square miles (26 sq. km) in the Pacific Ocean. In the past few years, their coastlines have retreated; waves have washed over the islands’ main roads; coconut trees stand partly submerged; and small patches of cropland have become unusable because of intruding saltwater. Like many South Pacific islands, there is little higher land to which people can move.
For these reasons, these lakes are like time capsules of the period when the continent began to freeze over. Some scientists believe that new and unusual species of animals may be found trapped under the ice. Water’s Rest Stops 33 TYPES OF LAKES Lakes are categorized based on how they formed. Glaciers, for example, are responsible for many bowl-shaped lakes known as erosion lakes. These lakes formed when glaciers scooped out round depressions in the rock that eventually filled with water as the glaciers retreated some 20,000 years ago.