Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Minerals formed by tourist erosion
  [vote for,

Where's science:geology?

The aliens who came here on holiday in the past have been very responsible citizens and always cleaned up after themselves, leaving only the occasional septarian nodule or Klerksdorp sphere when Brockian ultra-cricket balls got kicked into the long psilopsids back in Silurian times. Also, as they were all hoverducks, they never touched the surface of the planet themselves. Since we are native to this planet, we are rather less circumspect and we litter, walk on things and graffiti.

Over a long period of time, geological processes have formed various minerals, such as evaporites, gritstones and conglomerates. Though they may involve erosion, these processes exclude the activities of sentient beings. This is no longer the case.

Imagine, therefore, the investigations of a future terrestrial cephalopod version of [jonthegeologist] from the two millionth century as they excavate Amasian deposits from the Anthropocene epoch, particularly in areas such as the former Peak District, Rome and Bali. They will encounter novel minerals confined to Anthropocene strata whose processes of formation are quite distinctive. They could include the following:

Tabernite: Various minerals, fudges, metals, shortbreads and plastics are gathered from disparate sources and placed in gift shops. As they go bust in economic recessions, they are abandoned and buried in the associated lava flows, compacted and crushed into viscous layers comprising syrupy mixtures of badges, stickers and soft toys. These are good sources of complex organic gases which can be released by heating and are used as fuel.

Garbo: Somewhat similar to the former, this is a mineral formed from litter left behind by tourists, including half- eaten sandwiches, clingfilm, dirty paper towels and plastic forks. These include nominally edible components such as the remnants of twinkie bars and irradiated salad, and are served up as delicacies in exclusive reverse-sushi restaurants by our molluscan supplanters.

Graffite: Writing constantly scratched on monuments by visitors over periods of many millenia ultimately led to disintegration and later agglomeration of the debris. Useful for tracing linguistic change, as spelling and grammar can be correlated to the precise stratum of the rock. Newer layers are often brightly coloured due to spraypaint and are used to make jewellery.

Tabernaculite: Found on former campsites, these are sources of natural gas and contain valuable deposits of natural nylon. Highly laminated and include textile layers. Particularly common in the former Somerset.

Diogenite: Consist largely of fragments of ceramic and generally located in former urban areas. A former tourist gradually accumulates increasing quantities of memorabilia until the house is entirely filled with ornaments and souvenirs. Frequently associated with multiple feline fossils and isolated primate remains and their coprolites along with large piles of unopened mail.

Skist: These are erratics left behind by retreating glaciers and are generally lumps consisting of fragments of hominid bones separated by layers of foam and polyester along with metal sticks and skis. Another good source of organic matter.

Certain hypersquid collect these minerals themselves and sell them in their own gift shops or deposit them in their own dwellings. Millions of years pass and the distant descendants of neotenous barnacles make their own discoveries of further, newer mineral deposits shortly before the sun leaves the Main Sequence.

nineteenthly, Jun 03 2011

Shoe event horizon http://hitchhikers..../Shoe_Event_Horizon
Result: An entire archaeological layer of compressed shoes. [spidermother, Jun 03 2011]

Tourism as warfare http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Baedeker_Blitz
[AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 03 2011]


       In this case, [spidermother], they'd be flip-flops and flippers, found on former shorelines.
nineteenthly, Jun 03 2011

       Have you tried digging in Coventry?
Pretty sure there would be some igneous Baedeckerites there.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 03 2011

       Probably more common in Germany though.
nineteenthly, Jun 03 2011

       Don't mention the War.
8th of 7, Jun 03 2011

       I think i got away with it.
nineteenthly, Jun 03 2011

       No you didn't, you bombed Dresden.
spidermother, Jun 03 2011

       I must apologise, a mined mammoth trophy head has just fallen on mine.
nineteenthly, Jun 03 2011

       Is it not possible to bomb Dresden and get away with it?
pocmloc, Jun 03 2011

       //Since we are native to this planet//   

       Are you sure?   

       On the minerals front may I suggest ….parkite coprolite left by an impossibly large dog, that includes copious amount of poly ethylene.
j paul, Jun 03 2011

       Sounds good to me. Lots of that in landfill i suspect.
nineteenthly, Jun 03 2011

       I like this concept as deduced from the sets of a science fiction film. It is very cool to see relics from past civilizations incorporated in the buildings of new ones. The action in such a film could take place in buildings made of recognizable tabernaculite and kin.
bungston, Jun 03 2011

       That would indeed be deeply cool. It could also be low-budget: set fire to a few gift shops and stick a couple of skeletons in skisuits in a crusher and you're done with your set.
nineteenthly, Jun 03 2011


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