The Anthropocene and the future

Humans have become major factors in landscape evolution. The magnitude and extent of human landscape transformation may be significant in the proposed Anthropocene epoch.

With world population forecast to rise to nine billion by 2045, there will be increased pressure on the shallow subsurface, particularly in urban areas and the anthropogenic infrastructure that runs through it.

Gas pipes, electricity supply, water mains, sewerage, and internet broadband cables all form a complex network of underground structures. Urban areas are also underlain by extensive areas of made ground with different compositions and depths.

In order to construct resilient, sustainable towns and cities, it is necessary to understand the relationships between the shallow subsurface geology, artificial ground and the infrastructure that runs through, and sits on the ground.

The effects of climatic changes, such as an increase in the intensity and frequency of high rainfall events, will also be influenced by the anthropogenically altered urban landscape.

Surface sealing of the ground with roads and car parks has the potential to cause flooding problems as rainfall infiltration into the ground is reduced, and rainfall run-off is increased.

New York. (Photo: Gareth Jenkins).
Surface water flooding, Nottinghamshire
Dubai. (Photo: Gareth Jenkins).


Contact Ms Stephanie Bricker (Urban Geoscience) for further information.