New Geological Era: New Geological Era

Published: January 10, 2016

New Geological Era: New Geological Era, Some experts agree that a formal declaration of the new geological era on Earth, the Anthropocene, is needed. Anthropocene, a term brought into light by Nobel laureate chemist Paul Crutzen, is the time when the new generation of mankind has been able to directly affect the environment, such as polluting the oceans and atmosphere, according to The Smithsonian.

The Earth is still formally on the Holocene Epoch, which began 11,500 years ago after the Paleolithic Age and was a time when humans relied mostly on agriculture, farming and domestication of animals. The Anthropocene Working Group, the team of geoscientists that requests the formalization of the Anthropocene, says that the epoch of rising human population is contributing to the significant rise of greenhouse gasses and the existence of plastics, concrete and pesticides.

New Year, new..epoch? #Anthropocene Working Group publishes a report on its findings so far

— Geological Society (@geolsoc) January 8, 2016

“Biotic changes include species invasions worldwide and accelerating rates of extinction. These combined signals render the Anthropocene stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene and earlier epochs,” the study authors wrote.

“Combined with deposits of new materials and radionuclides, as well as human-caused modification of sedimentary processes, the Anthropocene stands alone stratigraphically as a new epoch beginning sometime in the mid-20th century,” the study concluded.

There are 24 members of the Anthropocene Working Group who wrote the study, including British Geological Survey’s Jan Zalasiewicz and Colin Waters. If approved, the Anthropocene Epoch will be categorized under the Quaternary period.

“Not only would this represent the first instance of a new epoch having been witnessed firsthand by advanced human societies,” the authors of the study said, according to Gizmodo, “it would be one stemming from the consequences of their own doing.”

The study was published in the Jan. 8 issue of the journal Science.


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