Anthropocene Epoch

The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) has voted in favour of designating a new geological epoch the Anthropocene. The panel will now submit a formal proposal for the new epoch to the International Commission on Stratigraphy which oversees the official geologic time chart.

The final ratification about the new epoch will be made by the executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences.

Anthropocene

The term Anthropocene denotes the present geological time interval in which human activity has profoundly altered many conditions and processes on Earth. The term Anthropocene was coined by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000.

Anthropocene Epoch is associated with:

  • Increase in erosion and sediment transport associated with urbanisation and agriculture.
  • Marked and abrupt anthropogenic perturbations of the cycles of elements such as carbon.
  • Environmental changes generated by these perturbations, including global warming, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification.
  • Rapid changes in the biosphere.
  • Proliferation and global dispersion of many new minerals and rocks including concrete, fly ash and plastics, and the myriad technofossils produced from these and other materials.

Now the task ahead is to identifying a definitive geologic marker or golden spike to signal the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch.

Epoch

Epoch is an instant which signals the origin of new calendar era. Epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than age but shorter than a period. The current epoch is the Holocene Epoch of the Quaternary Period.

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