image credit: Brad Herman
Some excellent writing as per usual from Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG about, ultimately, human impact on the planet as seen from the future.
(…) hundreds of millions of years from now, many of our cities will fossilize. These fossil cities will be “a lot more robust than [fossils] of the dinosaurs.” In fact, the already buried, subterranean undersides of our modern cities, from Tube tunnels to nuclear bunkers, “will be hard to obliterate. They will be altered, to be sure, and it is fascinating to speculate about what will happen to our very own addition to nature’s store of rocks and minerals, given a hundred million years, a little heat, some pressure (the weight of a kilometre or two of overlying sediment) and the catalytic, corrosive effect of the underground fluids in which all of these structures will be bathed.”
Plastics, for instance, “might behave like some of the long-chain organic molecules in fossil plant twigs and branches, or the collagen in the fossilized skeletons of some marine invertebrates.” In other words, a hundred thousand Evian bottles might someday be compressed into a new quartz, vast and subterranean veins of mineralized plastic.
In other words, plastics will, in fact, form a new geological layer upon the earth; plastics will be our future geology. It may take a hundred million years, but it will happen. Future Himalayan adventurers will stumble upon vast belts of plastic, compressed into ribbons between layers of bedrock.
image credit: autowitch
Perhaps the entire archaeological profession will be revolutionized by the discovery that alignments exist between the sewers of central Paris and the rising summer sun – lines of solstice and equinox that fill whole drains with light. Anthropologists will speculate that vast mirrors once stood at the junctions of empty corridors, illuminating the underworld bright as day. Post-graduate researchers will apply for funding to re-construct that subterranean maze of mirrors: reflections hitting reflections… hitting reflections.
Finally, on a summer solstice five hundred years from now, the archaeologists will stand, cameras in hand, as every sewer system in Europe begins to shine, light escaping from manhole covers, the surface of the earth faintly glowing.