Shimon Wdowinski, a professor with Florida International University’s Institute of Environment, told CNN he determined in a study last year that the Champlain Towers South condo showed signs of sinking in the 1990s.
The condo had a subsidence rate of about two millimeters a year from 1993 to 1999, according to his study.
While Wdowinski said that this sinking alone would likely not cause the condo’s collapse, he said it could be a contributing factor.
“If one part of the building moves with respect to the other, that could cause some tension and cracks,” he explained.
He added that that sinking was unique to the area of Champlain Towers South, not surrounding buildings. He said subsidence over larger areas was detected in western Miami Beach, which was constructed on reclaimed wetland.
“We noticed that the building was moving, and we reported that in the study, but we’ve seen buildings in other areas… moving at even higher rates, so we didn’t think it was something unusual. What’s unusual is that today it collapsed,” he said.
Wdowinski's study was first reported by USA Today.