Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM
EDUARD SUESS, ARTIFICIAL GROUND, AND THE ANTHROPOCENE-ANTHROPOGENE-TECHNOGENE
The importance of man as a geological agent (Leggett, 1968) is increasingly realized by the scientific community and the public. Perhaps the clearest expression of the geologic work done by humans can be found in urban areas, where the movement of Earth materials in the construction of urban infrastructure can be observed on a daily basis. Eduard Suess (1831-1914), today mostly remembered for his magisterial synoptic overview of the regional geology of the Earth (Das Antlitz der Erde/The Face of the Earth, 1883 to 1909), realized early the importance of man as a geomorphologic and geologic agent. In his book on the urban geology of Vienna, Austria (Der Boden der Stadt Wien, 1862), Suess described and showed on the accompanying geological map the extent of the Schuttdecke in Vienna, the “rubble blanket” that was produced over centuries by human activity interacting with the local geology, modifying topography and changing the geomorphology through the processes of deposition and erosion. He also briefly correlated parts of this layer to specific events in the long history of the city. In addition, Suess addressed the excavation work done by humans in their search for building materials and the geologic location of the resulting quarries and excavation pits. These technogenic deposits (sensu Chemekov, 1983) constitute the anthropogenic artificial ground that today is considered a marker in the characterization of the Anthropocene (Price at al., 2011). Technogenic deposits as a hallmark of the interaction of humans with the natural environment played also a role for Soviet geoscientists to define the Anthropogene (Gerassimov & Velichko, 1984) and the Technogene (Ter-Stepanian, 1988), both concepts similar to Crutzen and Stoermer’s (2000) Anthropocene.