Core blimey! Scientist calls for geological 'time machine'

Feb 04, 2008

A geologist from the University of Leicester has proposed an immense (1.5km) exhibition to illustrate the vastness of geological time and to give a vivid perspective of how quickly human activity is changing the climate.

Sediments accumulate on deep ocean floors at a rate of a few centimetres every thousand years. The study of this – called stratigraphy – involves drilling vertically down into the sea bed to extract a sample core which gives a picture of continually changing life, environment and climate.

Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz, of the University of Leicester’s Department of Geology, together with Professor Paul Pearson of Cardiff University and colleagues at the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London, propose that exhibiting a core will dramatically illustrate how brief human history has been. A continuous core going back 64 million years – to the time of the dinosaurs - would be 1.5km long.

Writing in the journal Geoscientist, he said: “On this scale, the last 10,000 years in which civilization developed is about 30cm thick… and the time since the Industrial Revolution is represented by just a few millimetres of sediment.”

Key events could be marked, such as the evolution of humans and also, more importantly, the huge lengths of time over which the Earth has endured, and recovered from previous climactic upheavals such as ice ages.

He continues: “At the base of the core a signpost would point to the formation of the Earth, 100km away, and the origin of the universe at 300km.”

The exhibition, if ever realised, would be comparable in scale to the UK’s National Space Centre, the brainchild of the University of Leicester, or the Eden Project.

Source: University of Leicester

Explore further: Mexico's Volcano of Fire blows huge ash cloud

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New technology reduces size of spinal stimulator implants

21 hours ago

Spinal cord stimulator implants could use less power and be made much smaller as work from Taiwan and Israel eliminates off-chip high-voltage devices from the implant's pulse generator. This will reduce implant-related ...

Mystery of dwarf galaxy could be ejected black hole

Nov 19, 2014

An international team of researchers analyzing decades of observations from many facilities—including the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakala and NASA's Swift satellite—has ...

Scientists map mouse genome's 'mission control centers'

Nov 19, 2014

When the mouse and human genomes were catalogued more than 10 years ago, an international team of researchers set out to understand and compare the "mission control centers" found throughout the large stretches ...

Simulation predicts epidermal responses to compounds

Nov 18, 2014

Skin is the body's largest organ. It is a protective barrier, keeping microbes out and moisture in. It also regulates temperature, enables sensation, and makes vitamin D. But researchers don't fully understand ...

New computer model sets new precedent in drug discovery

Nov 18, 2014

A major challenge faced by the pharmaceutical industry has been how to rationally design and select protein molecules to create effective biologic drug therapies while reducing unintended side effects - a challenge that has ...

Recommended for you

Erosion may trigger earthquakes

Nov 21, 2014

Researchers from laboratories at Géosciences Rennes (CNRS/Université de Rennes 1), Géosciences Montpellier (CNRS/Université de Montpellier 2) and Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (CNRS/IPGP/Université Paris Diderot), ...

Strong undersea earthquake hits eastern Indonesia

Nov 21, 2014

A strong undersea earthquake hit off the coast of eastern Indonesia on Friday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage and officials said it was unlikely to trigger a tsunami.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.