Friday, January 8, 2016


Parts of Colin Waters & Naomi Oreskes recent Science review:

The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene

Humans are altering the planet, including long-term global geologic processes, at an increasing rate. Any formal recognition of an Anthropocene epoch in the geological time scale hinges on whether humans have changed the Earth system sufficiently to produce a stratigraphic signature in sediments and ice that is distinct from that of the Holocene epoch .....
Recent anthropogenic deposits contain new minerals and rock types, reflecting rapid global dissemination of novel materials including elemental aluminum, concrete, and plastics that form abundant, rapidly evolving “technofossils... 
Detonation of the Trinity atomic device at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on 16 July 1945 initiated local nuclear fallout from 1945 to 1951, whereas thermonuclear weapons tests generated a clear global signal from 1952 to 1980, the so-called “bomb spike” of excess ... 
Recent anthropogenic deposits, which are the products of mining, waste disposal (landfill), construction, and urbanization (19), contain the greatest expansion of new minerals since the Great Oxygenation Event at 2400 Ma (20) and are accompanied by many new forms of “rock,” in the broad sense of geological materials with the potential for long-term persistence...

Recall a 2014 post here:

Monday, November 24, 2014


Deconstructing the un-natural history of the anthropocene epoch since 2006
The Anthropocene promises to be the first geological interval since the Cretaceous-Tertiary  Extinction in which all rocks get to be famous for 15 minutes. The brave new epoch has already seen the television debut of a  ready for prime time gypsum deposit that puts Industrial Light & Magic's best SFX to shame.

The crystal cave's high Nielsen rating has led to a media gold rush as producers prospect for out-of-this-world terrestrial geology, subjecting the few geology libraries to survive the Holocene-Anthropocene Extinction to unaccustomed queues as writers flock to read NYRPG 's annual review of postmodern petrology, which includes:
While most sedimentary strata  form extensive landscape-covering horizontal sheets, hydrocarbon rich macadamite occurs only as thin two dimensional stringers or veins that often bear rectangular  metallic geode-like structures containing vertibrate fossils.
Interwoven vein masses of macadamite of astonishing extent and complexity have been mapped in Southern California, and form a continuous belt extending atop Cretaceous formations from Maryland to Massachusetts.
More mafic than Maccadamite, this high-temperature no-pressure  liticc facies results from extreme local warming of holocene tar sands in Kuwait.
Saddamite consists of  sand grains in a matrix of carbon black and pyrolized asphaltenes, a petrogenesis  that defies explanation.  While high nickel and vanadium porphyrin levels suggest an  origin in marine cretaceous petroleum, no natural or commercial explanation exists for the infernal thermal fluxes needed to generate pure carbon in such amounts, nor do type specimens show signs of natural catastrophe or nuclear winter weathering.

The earliest dated rock of the Postmodern epoch is a green-violet, obsidian-like fused lithic 
The holotype,  a thin stratum of  un-natural glass emplaced in a shallow anticline in the White Sands of New Mexico. has a tritium age of 6.9 milli-eons, slightly older than deposits in the Terminal Showa formation of southern Japan. Kazakhstan, China's Lop Nor basin, Nevada, India, Pakistan and some islands in French Polynesia.

An ephemeral water-soluble calcian variety of trinitite that resembles popcorn while it lasts. It was briefly reported on some now vanished Pacific coral atolls, but the holotypes disintegrated in the first rains to fall following the H-bomb tests that created them. Highly enriched in transuranic elements, all trinitite species look far older than their years.
The new discipline of meteopetrology focuses on cryabase, the only terrestrial rock consisting enirely of condensed air.  

The minerals found in this paragon of geological minimalism include native oxygen and nitrogen, ice  II, IIIb & IV crystals , priestlyite (the carbon analog of silica) ,,and  minute crystalites of argon,  Freon, neon, krypton and radon .
The type locality at Cape Canaveral features aircicles and frost-like masses surrounding  liquid hydrogen tanks, where cryabase  avalanches were first noted as a cause of self-inflicted meteor damage to Space Shuttles.

While rare outside the Kuiper Belt, cryabase is expected to become depressingly common in the inner solar system if Senator Inhofe's views on global warming  are correct.

Caution should be exercised in collecting cryabase samples, as geologists' picks tend to embrittle severely at frozen air temperatures, and the temptation to lick field samples for a better view of microstructure can lead to severe frostbite of the tongue.
Phenomenally cold and dark variety of cryabase. Arbitrarily small amounts in atmosperic suspension can reportedly able to  lower global temperatures below freezing for 40 days and 40 nights, but the report published in Science in 1983 seems to have been based on misindentification of the related species, apocryphite, found in many factoid deposits, but lacking the valuable consciuosness raising properties of the material originally published . See Ttaprophyre 
Ttaprophyre A geometaphysical phase arising from hermeneutic metamorphism of a factoidite melange during high-pressure deformation professionel. Ttaprophye was discovered  by Johnny Carson in 1983 when 'nuclear winter' suddenly outcropped on The Tonight Show during the Cold War. On skeptical examination, Saganite, ( not to be confused with Cosmochlore),  proved  to be the reified product of  a PR campaign, semiotically indistinguishable from the War of the Worlds symplectite repored in 1938 by Welles et al. from  near Grovers Mills New Jersey.
The Ground Zero Gneiss
Known only from deposits in lower Manhattan, this so far unique product of political catastophism is a mylonized migmatite containing portlandite and powdery gypsum,  asbestos fibers , and enormous laths and corrugated sheets of metallic iron with a grain structure suggesting hot deformation. Some layers contain mica-like sheets of carbonized fossil cellulose with angular markings more legible than graphic granites, many pertaining to world trade.

The Tora Bora Metapeltites

Some anthopocene cave deposits in the Hindu Kush and Waziristan syntaxis show signs of shock and awe  deformation. Extensive contamination with clasts of lead and depleted uranium frustrated  early efforts by petrologists seeking to collect the $50 million reward offered for a specimen lage enough for  positive DNA identification of the elusive binladenite phase, later found in a conglomerate structure atop the Abbotttabad greenschists.

Which in turn recycles this 2007 Adamant  post,  itself a reflection on Paul Crutzen's 2002 Nature essay, The Geology of Mankind