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Science & Technology

Has Earth entered the Anthropocene epoch ?

By T.K. Randall
October 18, 2014 · Comment icon 41 comments

Many scientists argue that we are now in the Anthropocene epoch. Image Credit: NASA
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.

Now however a group of geologists, ecologists and climate scientists have proposed that 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.
At a meeting this week the group, which is made up of experts from all over the world, got together to discuss the best time to declare that the new epoch had officially started.

"It is clear that, though we have differences about when it starts, it seems as a group that we were quite happy to say we are in the Anthropocene," said group secretary Colin Waters.

A final announcement on the decision, which will relegate the Holocene to the annals of history, is set to be delivered to the International Geological Congress within the next two years.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comments (41)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #32 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 10 years ago
Now I coulda done that! But you didn't, Frank. You didn't.
Comment icon #33 Posted by woopypooky 10 years ago
Does it matter?
Comment icon #34 Posted by Mr Supertypo 10 years ago
Didint they post this last year already or am I mistaken?
Comment icon #35 Posted by MidnightLady 10 years ago
I have no idea what that means. I could do the research but I don't want to. I will take an incomplete in this class.
Comment icon #36 Posted by Doug1029 10 years ago
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. A type locality for the Anthropocene has not been designated. As of right now, it is not a recognized epoch. However, that could change at any time. Waters et al. (2014) propose 1945 as the beginning of the Holocene as several climate and geologic indicators maximize at about that time. Doug Waters, C. N., J. A. Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, M. A. Ellis, A. M. Snelling. 2014. A stratigraphical basis for the Anthropocene? Geological Socie... [More]
Comment icon #37 Posted by ealdwita 10 years ago
Waters, C. N., J. A. Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, M. A. Ellis, A. M. Snelling. 2014. A stratigraphical basis for the Anthropocene? Geological Society of London, Special Publications 2014 (395) 1-21. I shall rush out and purchase a copy first thing in the morning. Please don't tell me how it ends.
Comment icon #38 Posted by Frank Merton 10 years ago
It seems to me this is political (a bit of environmentalist propaganda), not scientific, although poorly camouflaged. It's the sort of thing that could then be used to "prove" to grade schoolers how mankind is ruining the planet.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Doug1029 10 years ago
A type locality for the Anthropocene has not been designated. As of right now, it is not a recognized epoch. However, that could change at any time. Waters et al. (2014) propose 1945 as the beginning of the Holocene as several climate and geologic indicators maximize at about that time. Doug Waters, C. N., J. A. Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, M. A. Ellis, A. M. Snelling. 2014. A stratigraphical basis for the Anthropocene? Geological Society of London, Special Publications 2014 (395) 1-21. That should say "...the beginning of the Anthropocene..." Doug
Comment icon #40 Posted by Doug1029 10 years ago
It seems to me this is political (a bit of environmentalist propaganda), not scientific, although poorly camouflaged. It's the sort of thing that could then be used to "prove" to grade schoolers how mankind is ruining the planet. There are several scientific studies out suggesting dates and definitions for the beginning of the Anthropocene. At this time, however, the geology professional societies have not adopted any of them. Doug
Comment icon #41 Posted by Doug1029 10 years ago
I shall rush out and purchase a copy first thing in the morning. Please don't tell me how it ends. It's a research paper. If you have an .edu site, you can download it for free. You may get it for free anyway. Just have to try and see. Doug


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