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Has Earth entered the Anthropocene epoch ?

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Scientists have been debating whether the Holocene epoch should now give way to the Anthropocene.

The Holocene epoch, which began 11,700 years ago, is the latest in a long series of distinct subdivisions of our planet's geological history stretching back hundreds of millions of years.

Read More: http://www.unexplain...-of-a-new-epoch

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Leonardo

From Wiki:

In geochronology, an epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than an age and shorter than a period. We are currently living in the Holocene Epoch of the Quaternary Period. Rock layers deposited during an epoch are called a series. Series are subdivisions of the stratigraphic column that, like epochs, are subdivisions of the geologic timescale. Like other geochronological divisions, epochs are normally separated by significant changes in the rock layers they correspond to.

So, while it might be reasonable to say this is the Anthropocene Age, it cannot be classified as a new epoch unless the geology actually exhibits distinct change.

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freetoroam

mankind's impact on the planet has brought forth sufficient change to declare that the Holocene epoch has finally come to an end and that we have now entered in to the next epoch which is known as the Anthropocene.

==============================

This is all way over my head, but if it is down to mankinds impact.. = not natural, then how do we know what we are actually entering?

Mankind has no where near finished with his destruction of this planet, who knows whats coming next due to "us".

Edited by freetoroam

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Ealdwita

hippie_zpsa6f37db6.jpg

"Hey man, like I'm still waiting for that Age of Aquarius gig!"

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Imaginarynumber1

From Wiki:

So, while it might be reasonable to say this is the Anthropocene Age, it cannot be classified as a new epoch unless the geology actually exhibits distinct change.

I think this is one of the geological changes they're referring to;

"What we see is the urban phenomenon and the boom of China has a direct marking in the forms of the strata," said John Palmesino, a London-based architect who has worked with the scientists to capture on film the impact of humans on the Earth.

"You can no longer distinguish what is man-made from what is natural."

And I doubt its just a bunch of dudes sitting around saying it'd be cool to change the epoch. I'm sure they have evidence to back up the claim. Whether or not the evidence is strong enough, we'll just have to wait and see.

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David Thomson

This is entirely political and has nothing to do with science. There is no cut and dry cut between one age and another, and it would take at least a thousand years of data before such a large scale division could be determined with certainty.

The previous ages were divided by extreme ice advances that caused glaciers over large areas of the planet. The current warming is the continuation of the thaw from the last ice advance. So far, it has achieved nothing unusual compared to other periods other than a faster rise in CO2. And even with the fast rise in CO2, there has not been a corresponding change in temperatures, rainfall, or any other meteorological phenomenon that would suggest we are in a different epoch.

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Imaginarynumber1

This is entirely political and has nothing to do with science. There is no cut and dry cut between one age and another, and it would take at least a thousand years of data before such a large scale division could be determined with certainty.

The previous ages were divided by extreme ice advances that caused glaciers over large areas of the planet. The current warming is the continuation of the thaw from the last ice advance. So far, it has achieved nothing unusual compared to other periods other than a faster rise in CO2. And even with the fast rise in CO2, there has not been a corresponding change in temperatures, rainfall, or any other meteorological phenomenon that would suggest we are in a different epoch.

Humanity has left a very viable trace in the stratigraphic column. It's easy to see the impact that we have had.

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Frank Merton

This "anthropocene era" has not been around long enough to be an era or age. Give it a few million years. If humanity still is around and still having the impact it has now, then maybe.

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Imaginarynumber1

This "anthropocene era" has not been around long enough to be an era or age. Give it a few million years. If humanity still is around and still having the impact it has now, then maybe.

Epoch, not era.

There can be made an argument for an early anthropence epoch beginning with our use of agriculture about 8000 years ago. And the effects of our lives and society today can be seen across the planet.

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Frank Merton

OK my English is weak here: to me epoch and era and age are all about the same -- referring to long (deep time) times. The geologic ages tend to be in the tens of millions of years, so things like the invention of agriculture are but a flash in the pan when one compares them.

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taniwha

And I doubt its just a bunch of dudes sitting around saying it'd be cool to change the epoch. I'm sure they have evidence to back up the claim. Whether or not the evidence is strong enough, we'll just have to wait and see.

Its interesting the word Anthropocene was actually coined by just one dude who used it more as a flippant remark because he made it up on the spot....

The biologist Eugene Stoermer originally coined the term, but Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen independently re-invented and popularized it. Stoermer wrote,

"I began using the term 'anthropocene' in the 1980s, but never formalized it until Paul contacted me". Crutzen has explained, "I was at a conference where someone said something about the Holocene. I suddenly thought this was wrong. The world has changed too much. So I said:

'No, we are in the Anthropocene.'

I just made up the word on the spur of the moment. Everyone was shocked. But it seems to have stuck."

The term was first used in print in 2000 by Crutzen and Stoermer in a newsletter of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. In 2008, Zalasiewicz suggested in GSA Today that an anthropocene epoch is now appropriate.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropocene

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antigod

That's all smoke, mirrors and riddles!

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back to earth

From Wiki:

So, while it might be reasonable to say this is the Anthropocene Age, it cannot be classified as a new epoch unless the geology actually exhibits distinct change.

I thought that is happening ?

All the plastic and goop accumulating on the sea floor ?

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back to earth

hippie_zpsa6f37db6.jpg

"Hey man, like I'm still waiting for that Age of Aquarius gig!"

Its a loooong way off .... you will have to wait for ... ummmm wait for .....

er ... man, what are we waiting for again ???

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back to earth

This is entirely political and has nothing to do with science. There is no cut and dry cut between one age and another, and it would take at least a thousand years of data before such a large scale division could be determined with certainty.

The previous ages were divided by extreme ice advances that caused glaciers over large areas of the planet. The current warming is the continuation of the thaw from the last ice advance. So far, it has achieved nothing unusual compared to other periods other than a faster rise in CO2. And even with the fast rise in CO2, there has not been a corresponding change in temperatures, rainfall, or any other meteorological phenomenon that would suggest we are in a different epoch.

I think it based on the development of plastics and them getting into the geological record ... maybe 1950 is the date of the new epoch ?

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back to earth

Epoch, not era.

There can be made an argument for an early anthropence epoch beginning with our use of agriculture about 8000 years ago. And the effects of our lives and society today can be seen across the planet.

Localised phenomena though ... I doubt it will get into the geological record ?

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back to earth

Or ice cores ... I seem to remember some research on Antarctic ice core samples that showed a 'human intervention' level ?

<quick search>

" Human influence can clearly be discerned in several ice-core measurements. These include a sharp boundary in radioactivity due to atmospheric nuclear testing; increases, unprecedented at least in the Holocene, in Greenland concentrations of sulphate, nitrate and metals such as lead; the appearance in ice-core air bubbles of previously undetectable compounds such as SF6; and the rise, unprecedented in the last 800 ka, in concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane. "

http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/395/1/255.full

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Imaginarynumber1

Localised phenomena though ... I doubt it will get into the geological record ?

It already is. I would argue that the acidification of the oceans, the rise is co2 seen in ice core samples since the industrial revolution, atomic sediments from nuclear testing, the reduction of primary forest around the world, rapid extraction of groundwater, over saturation of nitogen based fertilizers, soil erosion from agriculture, damning and diverting major waterways and massive amount of animal extinctions will clearly mark the strata when humanity ruled.

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Imaginarynumber1

OK my English is weak here: to me epoch and era and age are all about the same -- referring to long (deep time) times. The geologic ages tend to be in the tens of millions of years, so things like the invention of agriculture are but a flash in the pan when one compares them.

It goes Eon Era Period Epoch.

Some are longer than others and are all based upon major geological changes. No dinosaur fossils after the k/t boundary divides the mezosoic and cenozoic era, the age of mammals. The appearance of hominins is the start of the quaternary period. I'd give more examples but I'm on my phone and it makes typing a pain.

Edited by Imaginarynumber1
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taniwha

It already is. I would argue that the acidification of the oceans, the rise is co2 seen in ice core samples since the industrial revolution, atomic sediments from nuclear testing, the reduction of primary forest around the world, rapid extraction of groundwater, over saturation of nitogen based fertilizers, soil erosion from agriculture, damning and diverting major waterways and massive amount of animal extinctions will clearly mark the strata when humanity ruled.

Not to mention oil spills and radioactive leaks, the eventual impact of satellites after the collapse of civilization. In a few million years the fossil record will be made of concrete and steel.

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Raptor Witness

OK my English is weak here: to me epoch and era and age are all about the same -- referring to long (deep time) times. The geologic ages tend to be in the tens of millions of years, so things like the invention of agriculture are but a flash in the pan when one compares them.

Your English isn't weak, it's the argument that's weak. Edited by Raptor Witness
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Imaginarynumber1

Your English isn't weak, it's the argument that's weak.

Seriously? The division of Earths history into geological eras isn't weak at all. Neither is the impact that humans have had on earth.

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Raptor Witness

Seriously? The division of Earths history into geological eras isn't weak at all. Neither is the impact that humans have had on earth.

It's like an alien race invaded, what we have done. That's totally unique. Everything we do is to the detriment of almost every other organism, including ourselves.

We don't just dominate, we destroy the Garden.

It would be better defined as pre-and post invasion.

The reason for this, is outlined generally in the book about Adam and Eve. It's a brilliant synopsis, even if you don't believe in the Bible.

Edited by Raptor Witness

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Imaginarynumber1

It's like an alien race invaded, what we have done. That's totally unique. Everything we do is to the detriment of almost every other organism. We don't just dominate, we destroy the Garden.

It would be better defined as pre-and post invasion.

I've not argued the merits of such divisions. Just that it's clear humanity has had a defined impact. I'm not sure why you're calling it a weak argument when you seem to be agreeing with the premise.

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Raptor Witness

I've not argued the merits of such divisions. Just that it's clear humanity has had a defined impact. I'm not sure why you're calling it a weak argument when you seem to be agreeing with the premise.

With the exception of the creation of an atmosphere of oxygen by plants, I can see no other parallel. Is that defined as an epoch? If so, then I agree with you. Edited by Raptor Witness

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