How humanity will have a permanent effect on the ‘underworld’

Posted by ap507 at Aug 05, 2014 10:40 AM |
Geologists explore the hidden world beneath our feet
How humanity will have a permanent effect on the ‘underworld’

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Humans have left many kinds of mark on the planet, but some of the most remarkable and enduring are in the subterranean ‘underworld’ of rocks, hidden deep below our feet.

It’s a world that’s usually out of sight and out of mind – but it’s one where humans have created true geological novelties, such as the effects of human drilling, also known as ‘anthroturbation’, on the geological ‘underworld’ that exists underfoot.

Anthroturbation has been studied extensively by Dr Jan Zalasiewicz and Professor Mark Williams from the Department of Geology, together with Dr Colin Waters of the British Geological Survey in a new paper published in the academic journal Anthropocene, who have found that many man-made underground transformations, being beyond the reach of surface erosion, will effectively last forever, and thus may form mankind’s most enduring - and most puzzling – legacy.

The study, entitled ‘Human bioturbation, and the subterranean landscape of the Anthropocene’, has been published in the journal Anthropocene and is available online here.

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