Geology of the Anthropocene



I've been making an informal study of how Anthropocenic geological processes- everything from plastiglomerates to weathered pavements - create new biomes, sometimes referred to as anthromes in which distinct processes of botanical succession and faunal colonization occur.


According to Mike Davis in his 2002 Dead Cities: A Natural History:

"Geologists calculate that the fossil energy currently expended in shaping the earth's surface to the needs of an exploding human population of city-dwellers is geomorphologically equivalent–at least in the short run–to the work of the planet's primary tectonic engines: sea-floor spreading and mountain erosion."

The result is that vast areas of the earth's surface are now covered with anthropogenic strata consisting of strange new mineraloids, which, even when we abandon a given locality, have lasting effects on the landscape.

These form the substrate for what are called ruderal or ruin ecologies that grow up in response to the novel thermal, hydrological and chemical conditions created when the built environment starts to decay. 

I've been fascinated by how biota interact with these new substances and the habitats they create, such as brownfields, plastic-contaminated littoral zones and abandoned pavements.

Below are some images documenting these processes:




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