The persistence of our existence

Here’s something that’s been kicking around the back of my mind for a while.

In a hypothetical scenario where the human race is wiped out, but without causing significant damage to all the bits of human infrastructure scattered around the planet, how long will it take before there’s no evidence that we were here as an (intelligent) species? Assuming, of course, that there’s no ‘Armageddon’ style impact, and ignoring, for the moment, the various artifacts that we’ve left on the Moon and in orbit.


There will always be evidence.

Unless you destroy all the twinkies first…

I’m not sure you can get a definitive answer on this one but here are some things to consider…

Styrofoam will last 100 years or more.

The Pyramids in Egypt have stood for 5,000+ years (give or take) and are still largely intact.

Plutonium (which is mostly man made) has a halflife of 24,000 years.

My money is on over 50,000 years at a minimum but it’s just a WAG.

[Apu] Silly customer, you cannot hurt a twinkie! [/Apu]

The iron mines in northern Minnesota were dug in rock that’s been stable for a billion years or more. The holes may fill in before another billion years pass, but they won’t fill in with the same stuff as was there originally.

Welcome to the SDMB, nik. A question very similar to yours was asked about a week ago, so I’ll close this thread and direct further comment to the earlier one: Traces of humanity- -after 10,000 years?

moderator GQ