Human geomorphology

hilltop rink

This clandestine bicycle track in the woods overlooking Montclair seems to be abandoned; there are fallen trees lying across it. I’m assuming that it was used by pedal-pumping kids, because dirt bikes would have been heard for miles around.

It represents a huge amount of work. But that’s our specialty: digging up the ground for purposes far beyond our biological needs. Researchers calculate that human activity, from dam-building to mining and beyond, now surpasses every other single geologic agent in moving stuff around.

3 Responses to “Human geomorphology”

  1. Andrew Says:

    A steady trickle of visitors have been to this page ever since I posted it. The thing I love is that some of them recognize this place, which is (was?) known as Horse Hill, just by glancing at a single photo. I couldn’t do that, although show me a picture of a local outcrop and I can do the same.

  2. Ken Clark Says:

    I remember back in field camp, hiking up the middle Popo Agie River valley near Lander, Wyoming. Since it really was a glacial valley it was full of till and erratics. As we were hiking along someone piped up about the strange hole and radial crack pattern in a lot of the flat stones on the trail. I had to giggle a bit on that one, having shot rock before it was pretty obvious a drilled hole and explosive damage to the rock, it was easier for the trail blazers to simply shoot the erratics in place than to try and lever them out of the way and fill the hole. Looking at the big picture though, look how long it took us to get to this point, thousand and thousands of years of shoveling dirt around and moving holes. As power tools got bigger of the last 150 years, so have our projects. Of course, building a pyramid by hand had to have been more challenging than pushing things out of the way with a D-9.

  3. rebecca bond Says:

    I love the name “human geomorphology” such a fancy term for “shoveling dirt”… My father was responsible for something similar to this over 20 years ago in an unused dirt field in a developed park for his RC cars… after he abandoned it some bmx kids started using it and it’s still there to this day…

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