Just As I Thought

Another reason that I’m not a geologist

So, I’m watching yet another documentary on the 1906 earthquake — you can’t swing a seismometer around here without hitting half a dozen commemorative documentaries, special newspaper supplements, or collector’s souvenirs — and they’re talking about trenches. Geologists dig trenches across faults and study the cross section to find past earthquakes. Over the years, layers are deposited, filling in the gaps formed by earthquakes, and one can clearly see these V-shaped fissures in the trenches.
All kinds of scientists use trenches to peer into the past, studying past civilizations that have been buried or different plant layers over time. But one thing is clear: over time, the past is buried by new layers of the present.
Which brings me to the realization that the planet is getting fatter.
You see, judging from the different layers in these trenches that I’ve seen, the planet’s surface was about 6 feet lower a few thousand years ago than it is now. So it stands to reason that in a couple thousand years, another 6 feet of sediment and dirt and junk will have been deposited on top of where we stand now.
This leads to some interesting scenarios. First off, since the earth is a sphere (more or less), this means that there is more surface area on the planet than there used to be — at least, slightly. Second, where is all this dirt and sediment coming from? Are we just digging it up from one place and then it’s being deposited somewhere else? Is the net result a wash, or is there somehow significantly more matter on the planet than there used to be, raining in from space?
In 100,000 years, when the surface of the planet is miles closer to the ionosphere, what effect will the earth’s new waistline have on it’s orbit, it’s gravitation, it’s self-esteem?

2 comments

  • Sorry to break it to you but the planet is not getting bigger. Erosion from sea shores around the world as well as rivers washing tons and tons of soil into the oceans every minute of every hour of every day. The earth is just recycling using leftover by-products from over here to create new soil deposits over there.

    For every action the is an equal and opposite reaction.

    One plate moves up creating mountain ranges while one plate moves down sinking lower and lower into the bowels of the earth. Only to be spewed forth from the mouth of some volcano a million years later.

    I laugh when people we are killing this planet, we are not. We are killing our selves. The planet will continue along fine without us. We will pollute the air and the water to the point that human existence is no longer possible and then we will die. Oh sure the planet will suffer and we’ll take a lot of animals and plants out with us but in a million years or so after the planet has recycled us to feed the next million years the planet will be doing fine.

    Perhaps some people will survive, and one day they’ll study cracks in the earth and sediment deposits and we be just one more layer in the history of the planet?

  • Yeah, well, I knew this, but admitting it would kind of ruin what I had hoped was an amusing, “Dr. Science” kind of entry.
    Gee, THANKS, Tim!

Browse the Archive

Tweets

Browse by Category