The Great Acceleration and the disappearing surficial geologic record

GSA Today
By: , and 



The surficial geologic record is the relatively thin veneer of young (<~1 Ma) and mostly unconsolidated sediments that cover portions of Earth’s terrestrial surface (Fig. 1). Once largely ignored as “overburden” by geologists, surficial deposits are now studied to address a wide range of issues related to the sustainability of human societies. Geologists use surficial deposits to determine the frequency and severity of past climatic changes, quantify natural and anthropogenic erosion rates, identify hazards, and calculate recurrence intervals associated with earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Increasingly, however, humans are eradicating the surficial geologic record in many key areas through progressive modification of Earth’s surface.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The Great Acceleration and the disappearing surficial geologic record
Series title GSA Today
DOI 10.1130/GSATG341GW.1
Volume 27
Issue 11
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher The Geological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 2 p.
First page 8
Last page 9
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