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Author Topic: How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?  (Read 6294 times)

Herman Melville

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Let's say all humans died out today, perhaps from a killer virus that was 100% lethal.

Let's say this same virus left all other lifeforms unharmed.

How many years (thousands/tens of thousands?) would it be until there was no trace of people whatsoever, i.e. nothing left of any of the buildings, cars, waste, roads, cities, etc?

Or would human traces be here forever?


 

Offline Don_1

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There was a thread on this a while ago (a trace of human beings!) I will try to find it for you.
 

Offline dentstudent

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Human traces are here for good. If you look at this question from a "cene" point of view, we are on the cusp of the "anthropocene". This is because in several million years time, geologists will be able to clearly demark the rise of homo sapiens and the changes that they made to the soil horizons.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2009 13:01:03 by dentstudent »
 

Herman Melville

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Human traces are here for good. If you look at this question from a "cene" point of view, we are on the cusp of the "anthropocene". This is because in several million years time, geologists will be able to clearly demark the rise of homo sapiens and the changes that they made to the soil horizons.

OK, but how long until all the buildings/cars/roads/rubbish was no longer noticable? I don't just mean hidden under trees/plants, but essentially decomposed or reduced to such a state that only archeological excavations could reveal it.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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There's footprints in rock that you can still find left over from dinosaurs, and that was at least 65 million years ago, so if a footprint can last that long then think about how long a dirty great city is going to last, i'd say pretty much forever, until the earth gets incinerated from the sun becoming a red giant.

Even the pyramids are still here and don't look like they're in a hurry to go anywhere.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2009 17:35:06 by Madidus_Scientia »
 

Offline Daerana

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I remember watching this documentary a while ago called 'Life After People'.  I think it will answer your question.

 

Herman Melville

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There's footprints in rock that you can still find left over from dinosaurs, and that was at least 65 million years ago, so if a footprint can last that long then think about how long a dirty great city is going to last, i'd say pretty much forever, until the earth gets incinerated from the sun becoming a red giant.

Even the pyramids are still here and don't look like they're in a hurry to go anywhere.

The pyramids are only a few thousand years old. Will they survive another 10,000 years? Or 100,000 years? I don't think so. Plus, they are essentially just rock structures. Few of the things we create now will last as long.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Plastic.
 

Herman Melville

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Plastic.
Surely plastic is too new for us to know for sure whether it will survive for millions of years?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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The weird distribution of radioactive elenments in a nuclear reactor would prove for a long time that we had been here.
There are things called accelerated aging tests that indicate that plastics will be around for a long while but I'm not sure if they can support a million year lifespan.
 

Offline ukmicky

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #10 on: 04/06/2009 23:48:30 »
There's footprints in rock that you can still find left over from dinosaurs, and that was at least 65 million years ago, so if a footprint can last that long then think about how long a dirty great city is going to last, i'd say pretty much forever, until the earth gets incinerated from the sun becoming a red giant.

Even the pyramids are still here and don't look like they're in a hurry to go anywhere.

The pyramids are only a few thousand years old. Will they survive another 10,000 years? Or 100,000 years? I don't think so. Plus, they are essentially just rock structures. Few of the things we create now will last as long.
Provided egypt's weather remains as it is now,the pyramids may crumble on the outside but the interiors structures will be still remain relatively untouched for a lot longer than ten thousand years. 
 

Offline Don_1

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #11 on: 05/06/2009 07:58:36 »
There's footprints in rock that you can still find left over from dinosaurs, and that was at least 65 million years ago, so if a footprint can last that long then think about how long a dirty great city is going to last, i'd say pretty much forever, until the earth gets incinerated from the sun becoming a red giant.

Even the pyramids are still here and don't look like they're in a hurry to go anywhere.

The pyramids are only a few thousand years old. Will they survive another 10,000 years? Or 100,000 years? I don't think so. Plus, they are essentially just rock structures. Few of the things we create now will last as long.
Provided egypt's weather remains as it is now,the pyramids may crumble on the outside but the interiors structures will be still remain relatively untouched for a lot longer than ten thousand years. 

I would say so too. The damage to the Great Pyramid so far has been largely done by man and it's still standing after more than 4.5k years, even surviving an earthquake in the 14th century.

They don't build 'em like that n'more!
 

Offline dentstudent

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #12 on: 05/06/2009 08:19:38 »
On the face of it, 10,000 years is not very long in terms of how long the earth will be here...

The weird distribution of radioactive elements in a nuclear reactor would prove for a long time that we had been here.

Selenium (SE-82), which is a common by-product of copper refining, has a half-life of 1.3*1020 years which expands out to 130,000,000,000,000,000,000 years or simply 130 quintillion years.

Since this is created through human intervention, I think that we can safely say that our influence will be detectable for quite some time!
 

Offline Don_1

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #13 on: 05/06/2009 08:42:08 »
130 quintillion years.


How many seconds would that be?


COME BACK!!! I was only joking


 

Offline Daerana

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #14 on: 05/06/2009 09:36:21 »
130 quintillion years.


How many seconds would that be?

A LOT!!!
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #15 on: 05/06/2009 09:38:08 »
Actually 3.1556926 1025 seconds. ;D
 

Offline Daerana

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #16 on: 05/06/2009 09:41:47 »
Actually 3.1556926 1025 seconds. ;D

 :o
well done. clap clap
 :D

Like I said though; a lot. :)
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #17 on: 05/06/2009 09:42:34 »
All I had to do was to type it into Google and it did the calculating for me! :D
 

Offline Daerana

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #18 on: 05/06/2009 09:43:10 »
All I had to do was to type it into Google and it did the calculating for me! :D

I thought that's what you had done.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #19 on: 05/06/2009 09:44:48 »
Yeah well technology makes me lazy.
 

Offline Daerana

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #20 on: 05/06/2009 09:46:17 »
yay for technology!!!   ;D
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #21 on: 05/06/2009 09:48:00 »
Speaking of technology and getting back to the question: How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?

Forever! Because there'll only be robots.
 

Offline Daerana

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #22 on: 05/06/2009 09:52:44 »
they're not quite human I don't think but anyway, human programming will still be visable in them, and they would possibly last if they evolve enough to be able to figure out how to repair  themeselves.  They could possibly form a whole new civilization!
 

Offline Daerana

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #23 on: 05/06/2009 09:53:32 »
Did you watch the youtube link? That has some answers I think as to times.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #24 on: 05/06/2009 09:54:29 »
They don't need to repair themselves, they just build new ones!
 

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How long would humans' mark be left on a planet with no humans?
« Reply #24 on: 05/06/2009 09:54:29 »

 

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