PROCESS RATES: THE PRESENT NEVER WAS THE KEY TO THE PAST
However, things changed after the Industrial Revolution. There has been an accelerating destabilization of conditions on the surface of the planet. Burning fossil fuels, first peat and coal, then petroleum and then natural gas to supply increasing energy needs, and the decimation of forests for the expansion of agriculture to supply food for a suddenly increasing population, have contributed CO2 to the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate. Replacement of C3 with faster-growing C4 plants to increase agricultural output have modified the evaporation-precipitation balance leading to changes in regional climates. Proliferation of rice paddies and domestication of ruminant animals have replaced bogs and termites as major sources of atmospheric methane. Mining of rare metals and other resources have introduced nutrients and pollutants into rivers, lakes and the oceans at unprecedented rates. Humans have replaced weathering, erosion, winds and water as the major agents of movement of rock and sediment.
Like the change from laminar to turbulent flow in moving water, a change from predictable to chaotic behavior can be expected as geologic processes affecting the surface of the Earth accelerate - leading us toward an uncertain future.