You are here:

Geology/geological processes


Hello!  How long, theoretically, does it take for every surface feature on the earth's crust to be completely obliterated and renewed?

Or alternatively, pick a time period, say 100,000 years and estimate what percentage of the earth's (terrestrial and aquatic) surface features would still be visible or at least not eroded away completely or obscured by ash, sediment, subduction etc to a depth of say 2 meters. These are just suggestions, please use any estimate parameters you deem appropriate.

The question pertains to the possible existence of undiscovered civilizations.

Many thanks.


In my experience the period of time that civilization, as we know it or understand it, has existed on earth is a fraction of geologic time.  Certainly there are examples like Pompeii where entire communities have been wiped out.  And there are civilizations that have disappeared, however they have left relics, monuments, etc so we know that they existed.  It seems unlikely to me - although not impossible - that anything has been wiped out in the realm of geologic time that we have missed.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Fraser Hamilton


I have over 15 years of professional experience in the environmental geology field. I am well versed in general geology types of questions and answers. In addition I have a keen understanding of physical stratigraphy (especially in the Valley and Ridge of Central PA) and cycles.


Eight years of education, fifteen years of professional experience. Have worked or studied in ME, PA, TX, KY, IN, TN, OH, WA and Scotland.

Geological Society of America
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Properties Magazine
Cleveland Bar Association
Cleveland Engineering Society

BA Geology/Math, University of Maine at Farmington
MA Geology - Physical Stratigraphy, Temple University
Post Grad Studies Geology - Texas A&M University

Awards and Honors
Distinguished graduate teaching award, Temple University

©2017 All rights reserved.