I don’t mean to exclude women at all, in fact, I really mean that evidence of humans show signs of lasting for eons to come, but it just didn’t sound like a title to me.
Enter Plastiglomerate rock.
Science magazine explains, ” When the plastic melts, it cements rock fragments, sand, and shell debris together, or the plastic can flow into larger rocks and fill in cracks and bubbles to form a kind of junkyard Frankenstein.” Hawaii appears to have just that perfect mix of steady volcanic activity and trash-generating humans to spawn these new rocks.
Patricia Corcoran, of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, describes how the accumulation of plastic waste material since the 1950s has resulted in this phenomenon of plastic entering into the fossil / geologic record. The unique characteristics of Pacific Ocean create what is known as the North Pacific Gyre, that collects and concentrates waste of all kinds into an area known as the Eastern Garbage Patch. Kamilo beach, located on the southern tip of the big island, provides an excellent place for this vast amount of marine – and now human- debris to accumulate. Once this trash – including a significant amount of long-lived plastic- comes into contact with the volcanic islands of the Pacific, it has the opportunity to become fused, via the heat of the lava, with this igneous rock and sand resulting in the newly minted plastiglomerate rock which can now settle onto the sea floor and become a ‘permanent’ part of the fossil record. Perhaps these rocks will become the coprolites of our age, abundant records of our waste, for future generations to find.