Nuclear Power: One Day after People (03:13)
Reactors will switch to safety mode to halt nuclear reactions. Radioactive uranium releases energetic particles as it decays; uranium rods must be replaced every 18 months and kept in cooling pools. In railway yards, a common chemical will become dangerous.
Raw Sewage: Five Days after People (03:05)
Millions of gallons of sewage will flow into rivers around Manhattan. Pump stations will fail as electricity shuts off; sewage will back up in pipes, as occurred during a 2003 blackout. Methane will flood subway tunnels and collect at Grand Central Terminal.
Raccoons: One Week after People (02:26)
Decomposing garbage will attract omnivorous raccoons. They will exploit structures resembling their natural habitats like chimneys and take refuge indoors. Learn about their hand foraging skills.
Nuclear Power: Ten Days after People (01:12)
Heat from discarded fuel rods will boil away water in cooling pools; when their temperature reaches 700 degrees Fahrenheit, they will spontaneously combust—releasing radiation into the environment.
Niagara Falls: One Month after People (03:57)
The industrial Niagara region contains landfills, including Love Canal's toxic waste dump. Leaks are monitored and repaired. The lack of electricity demand will cause the hydroelectric power plant to shut down—doubling flow volume and destroying a downstream dock.
Raccoon Adaptation: Two Months after People (01:41)
Access to water and gardens will keep some raccoons close to homes. Without humans generating food waste, only one in ten will survive. They will have to hunt for food, as their ancestors did.
Nuclear Power: One Year after People (01:11)
Irradiated dead zones will form around nuclear plants, where fuel rods have burst into flame. Learn about the Chernobyl disaster.
Cargo Ships: Five Years after People (01:24)
Abandoned freighters remaining on the Great Lakes will head towards Niagara Falls. The International Railway Bridge will bar the way—for now.
Manhattan: Ten Years after People (02:09)
Grand Central Station will be a gathering place for owls. Methane gas will collect in subway tracks under the MetLife building, mix with oil and volatile cleaning chemicals, and explode.
Niagara Falls: Twenty Years after People (02:05)
Cargo ships and Lake Erie ice will collect at the International Railway Bridge. The Honeymoon Bridge collapsed under ice weight in 1938; the International Railway Bridge will share the same fate.
Picher, Oklahoma: Forty Years after People (08:32)
The abandoned zinc and lead mining town provides a glimpse of a future without humans. Chat pile dust containing toxic metals covers the baseball field; prairie grasses are returning. Sinkholes shut down Main Street and contaminated groundwater surfaces.
Railway Failure: Fifty Years after People (02:53)
Train cars carrying chlorine will collapse from corrosion, releasing chlorine gas that turns to acid when it touches water. In 2005, a railway accident in Graniteville released 90 tons of chlorine gas—killing nine people and injuring 250.
Niagara Falls: Sixty Years after People (03:26)
Cargo ships carrying iron ore (lakers) will stall along Lake Erie. Empty vessels will shear in half going over the waterfall. New York City’s MetLife Building will fall apart from exposure to the elements, damaging Grand Central Station.
New York City: One Hundred Fifty Years after People (01:22)
The MetLife Building will collapse onto Grand Central Station, but its granite walls will stand intact.
Nuclear Power: One Hundred Seventy Five Years after People (01:25)
Plant life will grow on rusting steel frames surrounding concrete cooling towers; hear how they will eventually fall.
Niagara Falls: Fifteen Hundred Years after People (02:50)
Goat Island once split the Niagara River into the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. Water erodes the rock and moves the brink upstream. After people, Horseshoe Falls will recede more rapidly—drying up American Falls. (Credits)
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