Rocks of the “Early Anthropocene”

Today I visited the Federal Institute for Gesciences and Natural Resources (BGR) roughly the German analog of the USGS, for a talk about the OneGeology project. Sadly, this was cancelled on short notice, but as a substitute, they offered a tour of their Geological Collection. (Thanks to Dr. Ehling.)

Besides shelves and cabinets with several ten thousands of minerals, rocks, core samples, thin and polished sections, and fossils, I saw this “marble” column:

“Aqueduct marble” (travertine) from Cologne, diameter ≈25cm. Photo taken at the Geological Collection of the BGR, Berlin.

“Aqueduct marble” (travertine) from Cologne, diameter ≈25cm. Photo taken at the Geological Collection of the BGR, Berlin.

The column had been cut from a piece of travertine that had formed in the Roman aqueduct to Cologne. (Wikipedia has an article about the aqueduct and the “aqueduct marble”.) So already 2 ka ago, people started to play an more active part in the rock cycle. Nice.

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