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   Undertoad  Monday Jun 2 12:10 PM

6/2/2003: Earth dribbles



There was a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Tsukidate, Japan, and this was one of the results: a landslide, bowling over houses and covering over a rice field.

But I thought it was interesting because it looks like spillage on a gigantic scale. I also thought it was interesting because mankind puts up these things trying to control and manage the earth, and the earth goes about its business as it always has done.

If humanity manages to off itself, after some time there would be so much of this kind of thing that most of our work here would be gone. Sure, it would take a long time for new mountain ranges to sprout and rumble all of our cities to dust or bury them in lava, or just roll over them like this. But on the scale of the universe, it would be a rather short period of time.

Strange, isn't it?



headsplice  Monday Jun 2 12:17 PM

Images like this always send my mind careening down the road of entropy. Does anyone have any guess how long it would take for a place like New York City to "return to the wild?" I'm guessing....a long time. Seriously, what with breakdown of material and that sort of thing, can anyone give me a rough guesstimate?



SteveDallas  Monday Jun 2 12:22 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by headsplice
Images like this always send my mind careening down the road of entropy. Does anyone have any guess how long it would take for a place like New York City to "return to the wild?"
What, you're saying it hasn't already?

Sorry, couldn't resist.


arz  Monday Jun 2 01:17 PM

The Flavian Amphitheater (which is commonly called the "Colosseum") in Rome was built in 80 AD and was used constantly in various ways for 400+ years. Then, it was ignored and suffered severe damage by an earthquake in the late 9th century. After that it was used as a building materials supply center and as the basis for a defensive fort complex. It wasn't until the very very late 18th century was it preserved in any way and even then it was about 75% complete structurally (but not aesthetically).

Given that one example, I'd say NYC would be around for several thousand years as a recognizable city and wouldn't return completely to a site with no recognizable features of civilization for 100 000 years (everything completely decomposed).

But that's just a guess.



juju  Monday Jun 2 02:21 PM

Still, 100,000 years is not a very long time given the entire history of the earth.



wolf  Monday Jun 2 02:51 PM

Re: 6/2/2003: Earth dribbles

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad

... I also thought it was interesting because mankind puts up these things trying to control and manage the earth, and the earth goes about its business as it always has done.
The Mississippi River does this on a regular basis. Why do you think they call it a 'flood plain.' Also, the addition of man made levees has made that particular problem worse in many ways.

Yet, because of the need to maintain businesses and residences along the waterway which is a primary means of commerce for the area, people keep rebuilding in an area they KNOW will flood again next year.


Happy Monkey  Monday Jun 2 04:30 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by arz
The Flavian Amphitheater (which is commonly called the "Colosseum")
...
Given that one example, I'd say NYC would be around for several thousand years as a recognizable city and wouldn't return completely to a site with no recognizable features of civilization for 100 000 years (everything completely decomposed).

But that's just a guess.
Keep in mind that the Colloseum is built of solid stone, designed to stay together without cement. As such, it will last longer than anything built these days. Remember the small number of recognizable pieces in the WTC rubble. But the sheer size and number of buildings in NYC may offset that a bit.


Griff  Monday Jun 2 04:41 PM

Evidence that Happy Monkey is correct.



Odd_Bloke  Monday Jun 2 05:07 PM

Bad link



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jun 2 06:00 PM

I used to work at aplace that had a huge blacktop parking lot. After it closed the parking lot looked like a field within 2 years.
The only reason we survive at all is nature usually moves very slowly.



arz  Monday Jun 2 07:35 PM

Well, the Colosseum is built of several different materials. The main structural parts of the Colosseum are made of tufa, which is "rockified" volcanic ash and not very hard. The inner support structure (the grandstands and the basement area) is made of green brick, which is a clay brick that is baked but not kiln-fired.

The brick structure is held together with cement. The massive tufa blocks were originally reinforced with iron bands, but those were scavenged centuries ago. Nowadays it's held up by its own weight and by some reinforcing brickwork at the ends of the outer ring (5/8ths of which collapsed in that 9th century earthquake).

Also, interestingly, the Colosseum for centuries was a veritable hanging garden of exotic flora, brought no doubt by the animals and the audience members from their native lands.

Granted, asphalt streets and lots would be subsumed by weeds very quickly, but I think the foundation of the Empire State building would remain recognizable for tens of millenia. Even the WTC collapse didn't reduce everything to dust; the foundations were clearly recognizable and the rubble pile was both small and large pieces of building.



Griff  Monday Jun 2 09:30 PM

I'm done monkeying around with this.



novice  Tuesday Jun 3 01:13 AM

The owner of the fields is wondering wadi did to deserve this



Unknown_Poltroon  Tuesday Jun 3 03:46 PM

there was a smithsonian article

about this sort of thing years ago. Basically, what would happen to major structures if people pucked up and left tehm. THe wtc would fall over within aobut a century or so, beecause it needed pumps running constantly to keep out th seawater, which would have rusted out the supports. THen the first big hurricane takes it out. The Empire state would have lasted longer. THey did bridges and such, lasted for various lengths of time. Hoove dam would have lasted centuries, and i think norad was the winner, on the order of several thousands of years.



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