Leaving Our Mark: Fossils Of The Future

From our cities, to our farms, to our rubbish, humans have firmly stamped their mark across the planet. In part two of a two-part feature, Andrew Luck-Baker, from the BBC's Radio Science Unit, explores the legacy our civilisation will leave in the rocks of the future. You can read part one here.

Humanity's impact on the globe is so great and varied that we have launched a new geological time period in the Earth's history. Its name is the Anthropocene - the human epoch.

Fossil fuel emissions, climate change, agriculture, accelerated species extinction, chemical pollution and megacities will all express themselves in various ways in sediments in the seas, lakes and rivers in our times, scientists say.

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Earth Rocks

  • Rocks are formed mainly from minerals, and form the Earth's solid crust
  • There are three basic types of rock: sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic
  • Fossils are formed by the remains of plants and animals which became embedded in rock
  • The rock cycle, powered by processes like erosion and compression, continuously moves rock material between the three types

See beautiful formations of igneous rock and the violent volcanic eruptions that create them

Millions of years from now, those layers of sediment will have been compacted into rock such as sandstones, mudstones and limestones.

But what traces of human civilisation would future scientists find in the strata of the Anthropocene epoch?

Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20154031

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