Trump Wall Faces Tough Terrain


President Donald Trump's proposed border wall has faced opposition and controversy from many quarters since he first proposed it on the campaign trail nearly two years ago, but his biggest challenge in getting the project done might ultimately be good old mother nature.  That's according to geologists who are looking at the terrain along the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico, and the difficulty in building the massive wall along a stretch with different types of rock, soil, wetlands, and natural features.

The President recently ordered design of the wall to begin immediately, with a study to be completed in six months on all aspects of construction.  Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has said he would like to have the wall entirely finished within two years.  But both of those timetables may be a little too optimistic.  "To do a full border wall will require extensive surveying over a long period of time to come up with a lot of unique, different plans to take into account all sorts of different geography and geology along the way," says Mika McKinnon, a field geologist and geophysicist.

McKinnon tells KTRH that the different types of soil and earth alone will present major issues to building a continuous wall.  "There are places where you're not going to be able to reach a steady bedrock," she says.  "And the wall will tilt or fall or crumble or fail, or be really easy to get under."

The timetable isn't the only area where the Trump administration may be too optimistic.  McKinnon warns the cost estimates could soar due to geology, as well.  "If you want to build a 20-foot tall wall that's several feet thick and more than a thousand miles long, it's a more extensive project and it needs a more extensive base," she says.

The bottom line is President Trump's noted reputation as a builder of great things could take a hit if he doesn't take the time and money to get this signature project right.  "If you try and cut corners, if you try and do things quickly without an adequate survey, geology is going to notice and your plan will fail," says McKinnon.


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