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Science & Technology

Have humans created a new geological age ?

May 12, 2011 | Comment icon 19 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
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. He told BBC News: "Simply put, our planet no longer functions in the way that it once did. Atmosphere, climate, oceans, ecosystems… they're all now operating outside Holocene norms. This strongly suggests we've crossed an epoch boundary. "


Source: BBC News | Comments (19)



Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by lp21why 11 years ago
the earth is heading toward a new ice age. but to say that man did this is really giving credit to the wrong thing. Not for a while, we have at least a few thousand years before another glaciation and some argue that we have another 16kyrs. Interglacials tend to last around 20 - 30kyrs and we have only been in ours 14.5kyrs. And no one is suggesting humans are causing another glacial period, simply that we have altered our planet drastically.
Comment icon #11 Posted by BigfootBuster 11 years ago
Not for a while, we have at least a few thousand years before another glaciation and some argue that we have another 16kyrs. Interglacials tend to last around 20 - 30kyrs and we have only been in ours 14.5kyrs. And no one is suggesting humans are causing another glacial period, simply that we have altered our planet drastically. 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 11 years ago
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. 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, ... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by BigfootBuster 11 years ago
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. HAHA none of us was* right. But you were the closest http://folk.uib.no/ngljm/PDF_files/GULLIKSEN98.PDF *edit - spelling
Comment icon #14 Posted by BigfootBuster 11 years ago
The Ipswichian lasted around 15k to 20k, but if you look at the Hoxnian stage that lasted around 50kyrs. 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. http://www.daycreek.com/dc/images/1999.pdf http://www.enotes.com/arch-encyclopedia/hoxnian-stage http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748712/
Comment icon #15 Posted by lp21why 11 years ago
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. http://www.daycreek.com/dc/images/1999.pdf http://www.enotes.com/arch-encyclopedia/hoxnian-stage http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748712/ 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 ... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Swamptick 11 years ago
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 11 years ago
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. 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 ... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by danielost 11 years ago
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 11 years ago
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. 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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