January 20, 2014
Sometimes, manmade objects become part of the geological landscape. For example, on Noordhoek (which means “North Corner”, in Dutch and Afrikaans) Beach near Cape Town, South Africa, there is a shipwreck at one end of the beach. Two rusted boilers and a ring of metal ribs– sticking up out of the sand like a picket fence– are all that remain of the S. S. Kakapo, a New Zealand steamship that became stranded on the beach in 1900. You can read all about the wreck of the S. S. Kakapo here. In this Anthropocene time discarded manmade objects no doubt have a big impact on the Earth and its various processes. While the remains of the S. S. Kakapo likely have a fairly small impact on the environment, the skeletal shipwreck nonetheless reminds me of the traces we humans leave behind. 114 years after the shipwreck, the ghostly metal outline of the S. S. Kakapo remains.