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Have humans created a new geological age ?

Posted on Thursday, 12 May, 2011 | Comment icon 20 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

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Have we so irrevocably altered our planet that we've actually entered in to a new geological age ?

This topic will be discussed at length on Wednesday during a major conference at the Geological Society in London. Over the last 11,700 years we have been in the Holocene epoch - are we now in the so-called Anthropocene age ?

"Dr Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester is one of the leading proponents of the Anthropocene theory."

  View: Full article |  Source: BBC News

  Discuss: View comments (20)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by BigfootBuster on 16 May, 2011, 12:45
Interglacial periods, usually last between 15,000 and 20,000 years. Our current interglacial period for about 18,000 years giving us roughly 2,000 to go before the next deep freeze.
Comment icon #12 Posted by lp21why on 16 May, 2011, 15:24
The Ipswichian lasted around 15k to 20k, but if you look at the Hoxnian stage that lasted around 50kyrs. It is dependant on the stages at which each orbital cycle is at, and it has been argued the stage that our current interglacial is most similar to is the Hoxnian which occurs at the MIS 11 stage. That would indicate we are set for interglacial conditions for a while yet. The Holocene has lasted 14.5kyrs so far, not 18kyrs. The Last Glacial Maximum was between 25k-19kyrs, the ending of which does not equate to the beginning of an interglacial.
Comment icon #13 Posted by BigfootBuster on 17 May, 2011, 9:06
HAHA none of us was* right. But you were the closest *edit - spelling
Comment icon #14 Posted by BigfootBuster on 17 May, 2011, 9:48
Yes you are right, that the Hoxnian stage lasted around 50kyrs. But there is some evidence that the Hoxnian stage may represent more than one interglacial period. If you look at the last 3 interglacial periods, you will see they last roughly around 20 kyrs.
Comment icon #15 Posted by lp21why on 19 May, 2011, 19:37
Agreed, but as I said it depends on the orbital cycles at play. The oxygen isotope record indicates that at the end of the Cromerian period, between MIS15 to 13 that it was likely a prolonged interglacial. Specifically as MIS14 probably was only a cool stage, as opposed to a full blown glacial period. Much of the confusion is based in semantics, and the fragmentary nature of deposits. Typically researchers attempt to link glacial and interglacial deposits directly to stages within the isotope stratigraphy, however we have many more different isotope stages than we do evidence for climate at ... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Swamptick on 20 May, 2011, 10:03
Off all the conspiracy theories, human caused climate change is the one that has the most lemmings fooled. Follow the money people. Do research for yourself. A GEOLOGIST is not the best source for CLIMATE. I would rather trust the thousands of Meteorologist and Climatologists. Another fine example of a 'scientist' saying something and you all falling for it.
Comment icon #17 Posted by lp21why on 20 May, 2011, 10:31
Where do you think the analogues for future climate change come from? Sea level rise estimations, the effect of greenhouses gases on past environments, palaeo-oceanographic and atmospheric dynamics all come from geologists. Have a look at the CLIMAP and PRISM projects and do a bit of research. Besides there is a Anthropogenic Climate Change thread, this is about something different.
Comment icon #18 Posted by danielost on 20 May, 2011, 12:08
humans are the ones who have decided where and when each age started and ended. so if some scientist wants to declare a new age, let him.
Comment icon #19 Posted by lp21why on 21 May, 2011, 9:08
This isn't about a pedantic scientist that wants some sort of legacy. This is about building a framework of the Earth's geological history, without it the whole discipline will be chaotic. This isn't entirely dissimilar to taxonomy, we are the ones who organise species and genera into seperate columns. We just make the distinction based on what we see.

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