Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drilling transforms the underworld: Humanity's deepest footprint

Date:
August 5, 2014
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Geologists are explore the hidden world beneath our feet. Examining the effects of human drilling shows how humans have left their mark on Earth both above the surface and deep below in the subterranean network of human-made tunnels in ways that will have a long-standing impact in the future.

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 that have been studied extensively by Dr Jan Zalasiewicz and Professor Mark Williams of the University of Leicester, together with Dr Colin Waters of the British Geological Survey in a new paper published in the academic journal Anthropocene.

Among these observable novelties are the effects of human drilling on the geological 'underworld' that exists underfoot.

Dr Zalasiewicz explained: "Human drilling into the Earth's crust to extract minerals or store wastes may be regarded as 'anthroturbation', comparable to the burrows made by worms and other animals but on a vastly greater scale.

"Anthroturbation has created textures and structures underground that are unique within the animal world. No other organism has made igneous and metamorphic rocks -- and yet we have made many tons of these in underground nuclear tests, in shock-fracturing and by melting the rock around the blast."

Anthroturbation commonly extends to several kilometres depth, as compared to the few centimetres or metres that non-human organisms achieve.

Examining the effects of human drilling shows how humans have left their mark on Earth both above the surface and deep below in the subterranean network of human-made tunnels in ways that will have a long-standing impact in the future.

Professor Williams added: "Many of these underground transformations, being beyond the reach of surface erosion, will effectively last forever. They can be preserved for millions and even billions of years into the future, and thus may form our most enduring -- and most puzzling -- legacy, for any intelligent creatures that may inherit the Earth from us."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jan Zalasiewicz, Colin N. Waters, Mark Williams. Human bioturbation, and the subterranean landscape of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2014.07.002

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Drilling transforms the underworld: Humanity's deepest footprint." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805090949.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2014, August 5). Drilling transforms the underworld: Humanity's deepest footprint. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805090949.htm
University of Leicester. "Drilling transforms the underworld: Humanity's deepest footprint." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805090949.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

AFP (Oct. 19, 2014) Tens of thousands of runners battled thick smog at the Beijing Marathon on Sunday, with some donning masks as the levels of PM2.5 small pollutant particles soared to 16 times the maximum recommended level. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins