Accretionary Wedge 46: Geology, Life and Civilization

This month's Accretionary Wedge was inspired by two events demonstrating the interplay between geology and civilization. First was a segment from 'How the Earth Made Us' narrated by Prof. Iain Stewart. The snippet I saw suggested that without the Carboniferous coal deposits the industrial revolution would not have happened (from about 19 minutes). The second is that I have recently moved to the Outback, Australia, where mineral wealth is often the driving force behind the establishment of communities. The fortunes of these settlements follows the boom and bust nature of the minerals industry.

From these two observations sprang the topic for this month’s Accretionary Wedge; Geology, Life and Civilization. How has life or civilisation been affected by geology or how has geology been affected by life? Do not feel restricted to human-centric themes. This topic can range from global scale events such as the Great Oxidation Event to the fortunes of small mining communities.

I'll aim to put a summary post up at the beginning of June. Enjoy.

Update: Thank you all for the wonderful submissions. I'll get the summary post up before Friday (Australian EST).

Decorative island in the abandoned town, Mary Kathleen, Queensland

Abandoned uranium mine, Mary Kathleen, Queensland