What would happen to the Earth if humanity suddenly disappeared

The capitals of the world are in the water.

It is easy to imagine a picture of abandoned high-rises with vines and packs of feral dogs running along cracked sidewalks. But it takes time for the Earth to reach such a state. So, people disappear. According to researchers, the first few weeks will be filled with chaos. The first thing that happens is that the oil refineries stop working. Without human control, after just a few hours, fires will break out on them and continue to rage for months. Then submarine pumps in various cities of the planet will shut down. The subways in Moscow, London and New York will be completely flooded in three days.


Animal and plant life

After the blackout on farms and cattle ranches, about 1 billion pigs, 1.5 billion cows and 20 billion chickens will crawl out in search of food. Most of them will die and some will be eaten by feral dogs and cats. However, animal species that have declined because of humans will return to their normal population size.


After 20 years, walkways will become impassable because of weeds and tree roots. Within the next hundred years, most structures made of wood will either burn down or be deteriorated by the climate. In the suburbs and the countryside, the destruction will be gradual. Private homes will be attacked by mold and rodents. Their foundations would collapse within 75 years, creating new habitats for lizards and insects of all kinds. Especially the number of different species of mosquitoes will increase, which will breed in leftover car tires until they decompose within 1,000 years.


Metal structures in cities, such as cars or bridges, will lose their paint. Uncoated iron will begin to rust and decay. In addition, burst sewer pipes will turn streets and the first floors of buildings into rivers. They will freeze in winter and thaw again in summer. This will accelerate the deterioration of asphalt and concrete, so in 200 winters most high-rise buildings will collapse. And after 500 years, the forests will be back to where they were at the dawn of mankind.


Long-term consequences.

In 35,000 years, plants will recycle the last traces of lead left in the earth by the Industrial Revolution. It will take 65,000 years to return atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to pre-human levels. However, some aspects of the human legacy will remain for a long time. For example, the carved profiles of U.S. presidents in Mount Rushmore will last 7.2 million years. Due to a special chemical composition of bronze statues some of their features will be recognizable even after 10 million years. However, the objects that mankind left on the Moon will last the longest! About 190 tons of remnants of spacecrafts will continue to exist on the Earth satellite after all traces of human presence on the planet have been swept away.


The future prefers the subjunctive mood.

Humanity has not always been on Earth and will not necessarily remain on Earth for long. However, many of the processes set in motion by humans are causing irreparable damage to the planet. Such mental experiments allow us to better understand this and draw lessons from the hypothetical future that will be useful for the real present.


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