Who Moved the Earth?
The geologic processes that reshape the surface of our planet now take a back seat to human activity. Geomorphologist Roger Hooke of the University of Maine estimates that people shift up to 45,000 tons of Earth’s dry surface each year, more than all the effects of nature combined. “And the amount we’re moving is increasing exponentially,” Hooke says. Over the past 5,000 years, we have moved the equivalent of a mountain range 13,000 feet high and 60 miles long. “We should recognize what we’re doing and plan better so that we can live in harmony with the natural processes.”
CORRECTION: The article and chart refer to “tons of earth” being moved. This should be “millions of tons of earth.” The author apologizes for the error.