SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — A new study finds that 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost to drought in the western United States, enough to blanket the region with 5 inches of water.

Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego say in the study published Thursday that they arrived at the conclusion by measuring the level of the earth’s crust with a network of GPS stations that is normally used to predict earthquakes.

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The devices show that the earth’s crust has risen an average of 4 millimeters since last year and as much as 15 millimeters in the California mountains. When water is lost because of a lack of rain and snow, the earth’s crust rises.

The findings are published in the journal Science.

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