Week 2014.18 (May 4-10) ~ What we leave behind

Nothing in the Universe occurs in isolation. Every action has consequences that ripple across space and time, unhindered by boundaries or borders, epochs or eons. Even in this quiet corner of rural Maine the firm granite bedrock rattles from events taking place in the farthest corners of the globe. This Earth connects us all.

In this edition of “One Week on Earth”, we listen in once again to the sound of earthquakes around the world. Many were audible here this week, including those in the South Pacific archipelagos of Fiji (magnitude 6.6, audible in this recording at 00:19), the Solomon Islands (6.1, 02:33), and Tonga (5.8, 04:22); as well as in Thailand (6.0, 01:11), Mexico (6.4, 03:46), and Alaska (5.5, 05:16). If you listen closely (preferably with headphones), you’ll hear many more as well.

The tectonic processes that give rise to these sounds have been active for at least a billion years, and we can expect them to continue for another billion or two more. In other words, the Earth will sound like this long after we have vanished from the planet. By then, only a few physical traces of our existence will remain: a thin, worldwide sliver of misplaced carbon buried deep in the planet’s geologic record; some intensely concentrated patches of strange radioactive isotopes; and a wispy shell of radio noise expanding outward into deep space at light speed.

The Earth offers us the sounds of deep time — both of the deep past and of the deep future. Listen: these are the sounds that truly connect us all.

What else was going on this week:

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