Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

100 Million Years AD

26.09.2008
Jan Zalasiewicz, a lecturer in geology at the University of Leicester, has published a new study looking at the lasting impression made by mankind -100 million years hence.

He takes the perspective of alien explorers arriving on earth - their geologists study the layers of rock, using the many clues to piece together its history over several billion years

A story unfolds of moving and changing continents, rising and falling oceans, ice ages, and evidence of life going back many millions of years. They grow familiar with its phases of change, the rise of great new ecosystems, and occasional catastrophic collapses of life. But then they stumble on something quite different in a thin layer of rock: a striking signal of climate changes, extinctions and strange movements of wildlife across the planet. Following this trail, decoding clues in the rocks takes them to the petrified remains of cities, and finally to the fossilized bones of those, long dead, who built them.

Dr Zalasiewicz said: “From the perspective of 100 million years in the future–a geologist’s view–the reign of humans on Earth would seem very short: we would almost certainly have died out long before then. What footprint will we leave in the rocks? What would have become of our great cities, our roads and tunnels, our cars, our plastic cups in the far distant future? What fossils would we leave behind?

“My study shows how scientists put together clues from the rocks to understand the past, its landscapes and climate, and the nature of the creatures that inhabited it. A thin layer of silt here, a trace formed by a crawling worm there–the clues are often subtle and difficult to read. But by such clues would future geologists–whether hyper-evolved rat or alien visitor–work out our story. My study explores which of our structures are likely to leave traces, and what future explorers might make of us and the impact we made on our environment.

“Looking to the distant future gives us a warning for the present: our activities have already left a significant footprint on the planet, and not a flattering one. It is not too late to limit it. We would not wish to be dubbed by future explorers the ‘amazingly clever and utterly foolish two-legged ape’.”

Dr Zalasiewicz is a lecturer in geology at the University of Leicester, and was formerly with the British Geological Survey. A field geologist, palaeontologist and stratigrapher, he teaches various aspects of geology and Earth history to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and researches fossil ecosystems and environments spanning over half a billion years of geological time. He has published over a hundred papers in scientific journals.

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>