dinsdag 8 oktober 2013

Anthropocene < - * - * - >Cryptoforest

In "The new world of the Anthropocene (2010)", an important paper written by a who-is-who of the term and its official bid for making it a bona fide geological epoch, you can find the above image with this caption below: 
Left - Skyscrapers on the east bank of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, photographed from the viewing platform of the Oriental Pearl Tower. Shanghai now has a population approaching 20 million inhabitants. Right - Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia. Stones of this Buddhist monastery built in the late 12th century are held in a grip by Kapok trees. Angkor may have been the world’s first ‘million city’ long before London.
Illustration for the statement made in the paper that cities may be the most visible aspect of the anthropocene but also its most transient. One thinks of Richard Jefferies 'After London'. One thinks of CRYPTOFORESTRY. 
The most plainly visible physical effects of this on the landscape—the growth of the world’s megacities, for instance—may in some ways be the most transient. In such “terraforming”, humans have brought about a roughly order-of-magnitude increase in the long-term rate of erosion and sedimentation (8, 9). This is a remarkable, though perhaps short-lived, sedimentary signal. If construction stops or slows, for whatever reason, then natural geomorphologic processes will rapidly re-establish themselves, as shown by the fate of “lost” cities such as Angkor in Cambodia.

The Anthropocene represents a new phase in the history of both humankind and of the Earth, when natural forces and human forces became intertwined, so that the fate of one determines the fate of the other. Geologically, this is a remarkable episode in the history of this planet.

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